West Seattle Bridge Update April 22; Reminder: April 28 Deadline for Sound Transit Draft EIS Comments; SPD Use of Force Data; Get Involved – Planning for the Next 6 Years of Seattle Parks Investments; Approving the King County Regional Homelessness Authority’s (KCRHA) Proposed 2023 Budget; Resources to Cope With Stress; South Park Neighborhood Center Landmark Designation; SFD Protection Class 1 Rating; Virtual Office Hours

April 22nd, 2022

West Seattle Bridge Update April 22

West Seattle Bridge Repair

The West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force met on Thursday, April 21st. There were two updates regarding the specialized concrete needed to anchor and guide the post-tensioned steel cables.

First, there was a second pour of this concrete earlier this week. Secondly, the next pour is scheduled for next week. There are six sections of the bridge that need concrete poured, so next week’s pour will complete three of the needed six pours.

The image below shows how concrete is pumped to the interior of the bridge, passing through small holes in the bridge deck.

The concrete must cure for 28 days, to ensure it has the strength to withstand millions of pounds of pressure.

Here is the update SDOT provided regarding schedule:

Availability from the three concrete providers with approved designs for the specialized concrete is key. Concrete plants are not yet operating at full strength, and there is significant competition from both other public and private projects. Both the contractor and SDOT are actively seeking to attain the concrete needed as soon as possible.

SDOT noted that they will share the reopening date approximately a month before reopening to traffic. The slide notes that following construction completion, SDOT will test the bridge for strength and resiliency – this test is expected to last about two weeks.

Other tasks needed for reopening the bridge include restoring lighting; replacing overhead signs; replacing 60+ concrete panels on the west side end of the bridge; and installing a concrete overlay on the Fauntleroy Expressway.

Spokane Street (Low) Bridge repair work

Work is proceeding on the repair of the Spokane Street (low) bridge as well. Work platforms will be used for epoxy injections and carbon-fiber wrapping, similar to the West Seattle Bridge.

Reconnect West Seattle

Here is the status of the 2022 Reconnect West Seattle projects:

An update on upcoming projects is below; there are some projects awaiting regular concrete:

SDOT staff noted citywide traffic is around 10-15% below 2019 levels, before the closure of the bridge and arrival of the COVID pandemic. Traffic volumes in March were 20% below 2019 levels, compared to 31% in 2021, and 38% in 2020, when the pandemic was arriving in Seattle. They noted that on some Saturday’s traffic has been higher than pre-pandemic levels.

 

Reminder: April 28 Deadline for Sound Transit Draft EIS Comments

Thursday, April 28 is the deadline to comment on the Sound Transit Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the West Seattle and Ballard light rail project. To comment you can click on the “Comment now” button at the top of the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions webpage.

After the end of the public comment period, the Sound Transit Board will decide which options will be studied in the Final EIS that will be published in 2023. Mayor Harrell and Council President Juarez represent Seattle on the Board.

The City Council Transportation and Seattle Public Utilities Committee heard a briefing from City Executive staff about the Draft EIS, and a related briefing from Sound Transit Staff.

City departments will be providing a comment letter to Sound Transit on the Draft EIS, and the City Executive staff presentation includes information about this. It analyzes questions such as compliance with City Codes, and whether the Draft EIS adequately identifies and mitigates impacts, meaningfully compares alternatives, analyzes impacts to BIPOC communities and proposes mitigation to further the joint Sound Transit/City Racial Equity Toolkit outcomes.

The presentation notes the Executive will transmit a resolution expressing the City’s preferences for Sound Transit’s Preferred Alternative for the Ballard West Seattle project for consideration by the City Council in May/June.

During the discussion, I noted the need for additional analysis to ensure good connections with bus service, and potential displacement in Delridge, especially regarding BIPOC communities and small businesses that were impacted by construction of the H Line.

The staff presentation noted that the City discourages scope reductions that don’t bring commensurate benefit to the system and riders. I thanked the Executive staff for this position, one I hear frequently from West Seattle residents.

There was a second presentation from Sound Transit, on a process approved by the ST Board in 2021 for a “realignment plan,” to address the funding gap that Sound Transit staff estimates at $1.8 billion, due to a rise in real estate and construction costs. While this process is separate from the Draft EIS, it could intersect, depending on the direction the Board chooses to take.

The Board identified two potential approaches to address the identified funding gap.

The first is to delay the Smith Cove to Ballard portion of the project by two years, from 2037 to 2039. This would have an impact to West Seattle riders; currently the West Seattle portion is scheduled to open in 2032, with transfers at SODO needed for the first five years until the Ballard line opens. However, if the Ballard portion is delayed, transfers would be necessary for an additional two years.

The second approach is to consider cuts to the project to reduce costs. There are two potential West Seattle reductions. First, for the elevated alternative to Fauntleroy, shifting the station location at Fauntleroy and Alaska to the east, so that it wouldn’t impact hundreds of residences. This option would result in an elevated line on Fauntleroy Boulevard and is not compatible with the Junction tunnel.

The second option is to eliminate the Avalon station.

I noted that I’d heard a variety of perspectives in West Seattle about the Avalon station. Some emphasize the development on and around Avalon and think it’s important to keep this station, whereas others are OK with removing it, but only if it results in some benefit to the West Seattle community, such as a longer tunnel.

I further noted that a key point of the Racial Equity Toolkit is the importance of ensuring access from lower-income BIPOC communities to the south. While a number of those communities would access the line via Delridge, the High Point community (and others) would be most likely to access the line via the Avalon station at or by 35th Avenue SW. So, eliminating this station would require a clear plan for providing timely access from High Point and adjacent communities on that corridor.

The Avalon station is estimated to have 1,200 daily riders, a relatively low number. Sound Transit’s analysis said ridership would not change without this station; I asked why, and they noted most riders would access the Junction station, as it is relatively close by, and the stations have relatively similar “walksheds.”

I also reiterated a broader point made in a letter to Sound Transit during the scoping process a few years ago:

“An elevated alignment through the heart of the West Seattle Junction Urban Village, and through a built neighborhood in the Youngstown area of North Delridge, would be unique to this line and unprecedented for light rail in Seattle.”

Here’s a link to the 14 pages in the Draft EIS Executive Summary that cover West Seattle.

 

SPD Use of Force Data

Last week, the Police Monitor and the Community Police Commission held a community outreach meeting on the use of force by Seattle police officers. The Monitor released a preliminary assessment on the use of force in advance of the meeting.   There is one preliminary assessment dedicated to each consent decree assessment area of Crisis Intervention, Stops and Detentions, and Use of Force.  These are referred to as “preliminary assessments” because the Monitor wants to share with the public and get feedback prior to the monitoring team making recommendations in the future as to whether SPD has reach “full and effective compliance” with the Decree.

The Monitor’s preliminary assessment, which examined use of force data from 2019 through 2021, showed that use of force is down overall.   SPD’s use of force declined 33% between 2015 and 2019 and almost 50% between 2015 and 2021.  However, it also stated that “SPD officers did not report subject race for 32% of use of force subjects between 2019 and 2021. This is concerning and complicates SPD’s capacity to conduct comprehensive analyses of uses of force across demographic groups.”

I wrote to Chief Diaz expressing my concern about this finding in the Monitor’s Preliminary Assessment

Last Friday the Chief’s office replied (and posted on the SPD blotter) that this is not an issue created because officers are declining to include the required demographic information, but rather an issue that resulted from a “mapping error” between the source system for force reporting (IAPro) and the Data Analytics Platform, which powers the public data source, which resulted in certain subject demographic data not loading properly into DAP and thus reporting as “non specified” in the public data set.

In other words, SPD is responding that the source system data is accurate and complete, but the extract, transfer and load failed on the specific data field that captures race.

The department has alerted both the Monitoring Team and US Department of Justice about this issue and has provided the Monitor with direct access to the source system (IAPro) to verify the resolution.  They report that they expect the data gaps in the preliminary assessment to be resolved before the report is finalized.

SPD noted “The inherent risk of this type of error will be virtually eliminated once we complete the integration of use of force reporting into Mark43 (thus unifying the two records management systems) later this year.”  The integration of force reporting into Mark43 is the $1 million project that was funded by the Council last fall in the 2022 budget

SPD noted the number of “unknowns” will be significantly reduced when the mapping error is fixed.

I have followed up to ask for further clarification on the time period involved in the mapping error; a review of use of force reports from previous years showed significantly lower levels listed as “unknown” in previous years for race; for example 12% in 2014 and 2015.  The Monitor reports: “The use of “unknown” as a racial category has increased substantially and steadily almost every year since 2015 until a decrease in 2021. As the “unknown” category began to increase in 2015, the portion of uses of force with Black or other minority subjects decreased, until an increase in 2021 as “unknown” subjects decreased…. The percentage of uses of force on a subject of unknown race more than doubled from 12% in 2014 and 2015 to 28% in 2021.” 

It is unclear if the data mapping issue, once resolved, will reduce the “unknowns” reported over several years, or only for 2020.  Accepting that there will always be anomalies, I am interested to know what occurs when individual Use of Force forms are reviewed and found to be incomplete, how SPD insures complete data is reported, what supervisors do when it is not, and how the department seeks to correct omissions as they are identified.

Here’s a link to SPD’s public SPD Use of Force Data page.

 

Get Involved – Planning for the Next 6 Years of Seattle Parks Investments

Seattle Parks & Recreation is planning for the next 6 years of investments, and your voice is needed.  In 2014, voters in the City of Seattle approved Proposition 1, which created the Seattle Park District. Property taxes collected by the Seattle Park District provide funding for City parks and recreation including maintaining parklands and facilities, operating community centers and recreation programs, and developing new neighborhood parks on previously acquired sites.

Get Involved:  Three proposed funding packages are available for public review and input:

  • Enhancing Access and Services: proposal here, survey here
  • Restoring Clean, Safe & Welcoming Parks and Facilities: proposal here, survey here
  • Investing for the Future: proposal here, survey here

Surveys are open until May 12th.  A public hearing on the Board of Parks and Recreation Commission’s (BPRC) funding recommendation will be held on Thursday, May 12 at 6:30 pm. More information will be available closer to the date at: https://www.seattle.gov/board-of-parks-and-recreation-commissioners

District 1: My Council colleagues and I will review and weigh in on the BPRC’s funding recommendations this summer and fall.  The draft calendar for our work is below.  My priorities will include ensuring that the three District 1 landbanked sites (48th & Charlestown Park Development, Morgan Junction Park Addition, and West Seattle Junction Park Addition), where work was suspended due to the pandemic, are prioritized for completion in the new cycle.

Proposed Schedule for Council deliberations:

You can read more about the Seattle Park District here, and the six-year plan here.

Approving the King County Regional Homelessness Authority’s (KCRHA) Proposed 2023 Budget

At yesterday’s meeting of the KCRHA Governing Committee, I called for a special May meeting to discuss and vote on the proposed 2023 budget.  My fellow Governing Committee members approved my request, and I appreciate that the Authority has already reached out to schedule the meeting.

I wrote last month about the importance of a public review and discussion of the proposed budget before it is submitted to the City and County on June 1st.  Governing Committee approval is required by the City and County’s Interlocal Agreement establishing the KCRHA; and I truly believe it’s in the best interest of the KCRHA as well.

Governing Committee members who understand and approve the details of what the Authority is requesting will be better advocates in championing those investments before our own bodies – such as the Council’s fall budget process.

In its startup year, the Authority is also working on a required 5-year plan, which will include proposed budgets through 2028.  This plan will build on the National Innovation Service (NIS) report and Regional Action Framework, and help set the Authority’s medium-term vision for helping people leave homelessness behind in our community.  I look forward to reviewing the 5-year plan at the September meeting.


Resources to Cope With Stress

If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed with stress, sadness, worry or grief, remember it’s okay to ask for help. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger. Check out King County’s Community Mental Health Resource Guide to learn about what’s available, get emotional support 24/7, or connect to a counselor.

 

South Park Neighborhood Center Landmark Designation

As I wrote about a few weeks ago, the South Park Neighborhood Center – also known as the former Fire Station 26 – was nominated as a city landmark. The Landmarks Preservation Board met on April 6 where they voted to declare the building as a landmark. You can see the nomination packet here. You can find all the Board’s agenda and minutes here when they are uploaded.

 

SFD Protection Class 1 Rating

It was announced late last week that the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) will become the first department in Washington to receive a Protection Class 1 rating from the Washington Surveying and Rating Bureau (WSRB). This rating puts SFD in the top 1% of fire districts in the nation and confirms what we’ve known for years – the SFD is among the most effective fire departments in the nation. Now, their amazing work will extend even further, saving Seattleites and our small businesses money that can go back into our community.

That the Seattle Fire Department has been able to accomplish this feat while simultaneously serving the City of Seattle during a pandemic, with their traditional firefighting live saving responsibilities, their expansion of Health One, and also standing up testing and vaccine services for our communities is truly awe-inspiring.

The Washington Surveying and Rating Bureau ratings are across criteria including water supply, fire department, emergency communications and fire safety control, so thanks are also extended to Finance and Administrative Services for fleet management and to Seattle Public Utilities for their fire hydrants management.

Beginning in July property owners can contact their insurance companies to see if their premium will upon renewal. Congratulations to Chief Scoggins, Local 27, and the entire department on this impressive achievement.

 

Virtual Office Hours

On Friday, April 29, 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) to receive the call-in information and schedule a time.

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, May 27, 2022
  • Friday, June 24, 2022
  • Friday, July 29, 2022
  • Friday, August 19, 2022
  • Friday, September 30, 2022
  • Friday, October 28, 2022
  • Friday, December 16, 2022
Share


West Seattle Bridge Update; Economic Forecast Improves; Apply for Market Vouchers; Citywide Hiring Analysis; PayUp Heard in Committee; OPA Annual Report; Youth/Young Adult Behavioral Health Services Funding; Welcoming a Delegation from Nantes, France; Landmark Preservation Board to Consider Alki Elementary

April 15th, 2022

West Seattle Bridge Update April 15

SDOT reports that the first delivery of the specialized concrete needed for the West Seattle Bridge repair will arrive this weekend! This is the concrete that will anchor and guide the post-tensioning steel cables to prevent cracking of the concrete in the bridge. SDOT estimates that 35 cubic yards of this concrete will arrive this weekend; 245 cubic yards is needed.

SDOT says they will not establish the schedule for completing repairs until all the concrete is successfully scheduled, delivered, and poured. With the return to work of the mixer drivers, there are now a total of three companies with pre-approved design mixes for the specialized concrete with whom contractors needing this specialized concrete (KNA) can work.

The interior carbon-fiber wrapping and epoxy injections have been completed in the central span of the bridge, as has core drilling through the bridge pier structures for post-tensioning:

On April 21st the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force will meet at 2 p.m.

Traffic volumes remain high on alternate routes, especially West Marginal Way and Highland Park Way; SDOT has completed West Marginal Way and Highland Park Way intersection improvements with four CCTV cameras, including new fiber, to provide reliable communications. The cameras allow for real-time monitoring of intersection conditions and signal adjustments.

For Home Zone projects, SDOT has six projects to complete in South Park in the first half of 2022; three of them are conveyance swale with planting and wheel stope projects – one is in construction now; and two are in the queue for construction within the next few weeks.

For Highland Park, SDOT has eight projects to complete in the first half of 2022; three are conveyance swale with planting and wheel stope projects; three are in the queue for concrete.

SDOT will be installing a flashing crosswalk beacon on 45th Avenue SW and SW Admiral Way this weekend.

In a separate project, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will be closing the South Spokane Street/West Seattle Bridge on-ramp to SR 99 for two weeks starting on April 18th. This work is necessary to repair a portion of the onramp where there is a hole on the bridge deck. The hole is currently covered by a patch and a steel plate, which makes it safe for driving. The map from WSDOT below shows the location of the work. Additional information (and visuals of the hole) are on WSDOT’s website. WSDOT has updates on closure and reopening dates here: https://twitter.com/wsdot_traffic.


City of Seattle Economic Forecast Modestly Improved

Last Friday, the new Office of Economic and Revenue Forecasts delivered its updated April revenue forecast for the City, the first since the independent office was created last year by Seattle City Council.  The headline: The City’s revenue is faring somewhat better than expected, while global volatility and inflation are introducing challenges.  You can view the full presentation here.

The newest forecast shows an increase in projected revenue: roughly a $32.5 million increase for the City’s General Fund resources, and an increase of $57.3 million to Non-General Fund resources. JumpStart, the payroll expense tax Council approved in 2020, is performing particularly well.  JumpStart is now expected to bring in $277M this year, an almost $44M improvement over the last fall’s projection.  The spending plan for the JumpStart funds includes:  increased affordable housing, small business support, green new deal, and Equitable Development Initiative investments.

Forecast Council members agreed with Director Noble’s recommendation that the Baseline forecast continue to serve as the basis for the City’s forward-looking revenue estimates.  That means that as the Executive departments, under Mayor Harrell’s leadership, build their proposed 2023 budget, they will use the Baseline forecast as a starting point.

I’ll join my colleagues to discuss this new economic forecast, along with additional revenue estimates from the Central Budget Office, at the Finance & Housing Committee on April 20th at 9:30 a.m. The committee can be watched live on the Seattle Channel.

Though there are budget challenges ahead, those challenges are likely to be greatly reduced by the revenue that JumpStart is providing to the City budget.  Today we heard the City of Seattle defend the tax in the Court of Appeals against the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce.  King County Superior Court Judge Mary Roberts dismissed the challenge last June.  Despite that the Jumpstart revenue was critical in offsetting lost revenue during the pandemic – avoiding lay offs and cuts – and that it will enable the City double investment in affordable housing, as well as support small businesses and support communities, the Chamber appealed that decision.   You can watch the arguments here.

Seniors: Apply Now for Farmers’ Market Vouchers

Older, low-income residents can now apply for one-time $40 “checks” (vouchers) that can be exchanged for fresh produce at farmers markets throughout King County. To apply, all of the following must be true:

  • Age 60+ (or age 55+ if you are American Indian/Alaska Native) by June 30
  • Low income—no more than:
    • $2,096 monthly ($25,142 annual) income for one person
    • $2,823 monthly ($33,874 annual) income for two people
  • For larger households, add $728 for each additional person
  • King County, Washington resident

Download application forms in 11 languages at www.agingkingcounty.org/SFMNP/. Or, use a new online application that saves time and doesn’t require a postage stamp. Applications must be submitted (postmarked, if mailed) on or before April 29, 2022.

For information about SFMNP, other food programs, and other local services for older people, adults with disabilities, caregivers, and family members, call Community Living Connections at (toll-free) 1-844-348-5464.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

On Tuesday, I was honored to present a proclamation declaring April Sexual Assault Awareness Month to representatives of Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence and Sexual Violence Law Center.  Sexual violence includes a continuum of behavior and includes racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist or other hate speech. Harassing comments and behaviors that take place online can and do traumatize victims, and their impacts should not be minimized.

The proclamation notes that, working together as a community, we can alleviate the trauma of sexual violence by ensuring supportive resources are available to all survivors, while standing up to and actively disrupting harmful attitudes and behaviors that contribute to sexual violence.

I am grateful to King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence, Sexual Violence Law Center, and the many organizations and individuals who work every day to bring justice and support to survivors.  If you or someone you love needs help, click here or call 888.998.6423 (English) or 425.282.0324 (Spanish).  Request assistance in another language here

Water Taxi Summer Schedule Begins April 21 with Weekend Service until 11 p.m.

The West Seattle Water Taxi will begin its summer sailing schedule on April 21. This will include departures on Fridays and Saturdays through 11 p.m. You can view the sailing schedule here.

The summer schedule will run through October 14th.

More information is available at the King County Captain’s Blog website.


Public Safety and Human Services Committee Updates

The Public Safety and Human Services Committee met earlier this week.  We heard items related to public safety, hiring, Seattle Municipal Court, and the PayUp proposal I am co-sponsoring.

Interim Chief Diaz presented an overview of SPD’s participation in 5 separate federal law enforcement task forces. The work on these task forces involves, for example, a focus on reducing gun violence; as Diaz noted, 24 ghost guns have been recovered as of April 12th, compared to 3 during the same time last year. 150 firearms were seized by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force during 2021. Another task force seized 100 firearms.

Here’s the report and the presentation.

The Seattle Department of Human Resources (SDHR) presented their response to the Council’s request for a Citywide Hiring analysis.  One finding from their report is that under the City’s personnel rules, the relocation expenses of new employees moving to Seattle – from other places – to work for the City can only be funded for employees in higher salary bands.  In addition to SPD, there are other City departments with vacancies, who are doing nationwide searches, in a very competitive job market, to fill those vacancies.  Why would we only pay the moving expenses of very high earning employees moving to Seattle to serve the public?  This is an equity issue that I believe needs to be addressed not only for SPD but other departments who are recruiting nationwide to fill vacancies. In addition, SDHR noted that the Seattle Police Department has only one recruiter working to help encourage people to apply to work for SPD.

The Seattle Municipal Court (SMC), and Presiding Judge Willie Gregory, presented an update on the evolution of their probation program. The SMC handles all misdemeanor crimes and civil infractions in the city, and they process thousands of criminal cases and hundreds of thousands of vehicle infractions every year. Probation is post-trial case management with supportive services to individuals with court-ordered obligations to address underlying challenges, such as drug addiction, mental illness, and homelessness. In 2020, the Vera Institute of Justice released a report on the SMC’s Probation Services.  I wrote previously about this report here. The SMC continues to make progress on implementing the recommendations, and notably, effective on March 21, 2022, the SMC eliminated the use of the risk assessment tools. The intended purpose of risk assessment tools is to minimize human bias.   However, studies show that they, instead, perpetuate bias towards people of color, a form of institutional racism. I am happy to see the court move away from this approach.

Finally, the PSHS committee had our first discussion of the bill in the PayUp policy package which addresses minimum payment, transparency, and flexibility.  I wrote about the bill introduction last week.  Central Staff gave a presentation on the history of the stakeholder process, and the changes to the bill since a draft was last heard in committee on February 8. We will discuss the bill again on April 26, and May 10 where we hope to pass final amendments before sending to Full Council. If you haven’t already, checkout the PayUp website including background on the issue, our extensive stakeholder process, and includes links to media articles, as well as a FAQ.

Office of Police Accountability Annual Report

The Office of Police Accountability (OPA) released their 2021 Annual Report. OPA investigates allegations of misconduct.

During 2021, OPA received 2,866 contacts, and investigated 52% of complaints, and opened 558 cases. 26% of allegations in investigations were sustained, meaning the investigation found that a violation of policy had occurred.

OPA issued findings for 1,208 allegations in 312 investigations (more than one allegation can be included); the 26% of investigations that included one or more sustained finding is an 8% increase from 2020:

The three most common complaints were regarding professionalism; bias-free policing, and investigations and reports:

Management Action Recommendations

A little-known function of the OPA, in addition to recommending discipline for individual officers, is the Management Action Recommendations (MARs) they make, principally to SPD. OPA issues MARs when they identify issues “with SPD policies or practices that have implications beyond the case at hand,” and send a recommendation to the Chief of Police identifying specific issues and recommending changes.  The appendix at the end of the report lists the recommendations, SPD actions, and status.

MARs from 2018 to 2022 are listed on the OPA Policy Recommendations website.  MARs are listed by year, date, topic, and status, including responses from SPD. OPA identifies the status as Active, In Progress, Fully Implemented, Partially Implemented, or Declined Action.

2022 MARS issued include policies changes regarding topics such as Subjects with Knives, Bicycles as Impact Weapons, and Vehicle Pursuits.

I thank SPD for their work implementing OPA’s management recommendations.  Management action recommendations were made in 22 policy areas and nine are fully or partially implemented and ten are in progress.  This is how SPD, working with OPA, is proactive in preventing future misconduct.

I am concerned that the racial disproportionality in OPA cases has continued to increase over previous years.  23% and 22% of cases in 2019 and 2020 respectively originated with Black/African American complainants, increasing to 27% in 2021.  Only 7% of Seattle’s population is made up of Black/African American residents.

Closed Case Summaries are posted when OPA investigations are completed.

OPA offers Case and Policy Updates approximately once a month by e-mail, “highlighting cases of significant officer interest, cases that contain information that may inform officers’ day-to-day work, and pertinent policy recommendations.” You can subscribe on the webpage and view previous updates.

Funds Available for Youth/Young Adult Behavioral Health Services

The Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) is now seeking applications from organizations to provide behavioral health support to young people. Eligible services through this Request for Proposals (RFP) include non-residential behavioral health support through clinical treatment and/or non-clinical, culturally specific approaches. Organizations must have documented experience:

  • engaging Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) youth and/or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ+) youth of color;
  • providing culturally appropriate behavioral health services; and
  • engaging with Seattle’s young people between 8 and 24 years old.

This RFP is investing $938,841 for the period of January 1 to December 31, 2023.  Learn more and find application materials here.

Nantes Park Welcome

My office participated in welcoming a delegation from Nantes, France, on their long-delayed visit to celebrate the 40th anniversary of our Sister City relationship.  First on their agenda was a beautiful water taxi trip to West Seattle to celebrate a new art installation and improvements at Nantes Park in Admiral.  This effort benefitted from more than 500 volunteer hours from Seattle-Nantes Sister City Association, Admiral Neighborhood Association, West Seattle Garden Tour, and others – thank you!

As Seattle’s Nantes liaison throughout the pandemic, I’ve enjoyed virtual exchanges with Deputy Mayor Pierre-Emmanuel Marais, who shared greetings and appreciation for the Nantes Park welcome.  My legislative aide Christena Coutsoubos welcomed the group to District 1, and thanked everyone involved in the Nantes Park beautification project, including the City of Nantes, Seattle Parks & Recreation, and Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art installations designed by Claude Ponti, beloved and prolific French children’s author and illustrator.

Landmarks Preservation Board Considers Nomination of Alki Elementary School

The Landmarks Preservation Board will consider the nomination of Alki Elementary School at 3010 59th Avenue SW / 5817 SW Stevens Street on Wednesday, April 20, 2022 at 3:30 p.m.

Here is a link to the meeting agenda. The agenda includes three links for this nomination: the staff report; the nomination application; and the nomination presentation.

The meeting will be held virtually. The agenda includes links to attend the meeting and to provide public comment.

You can also send written comments to erin.doherty@seattle.gov and/or sarah.sodt@seattle.gov. They encourage written comments in advance of the meeting in order for board members to have time to review.

A landmark nomination provides a physical description of the building, object, or site, and information on its history, current and historic photos, site plans, maps, drawings, and more.

To be designated as a landmark, an object or site must be more than 25 years old and meet one of the six categories listed in SMC 25.12.350.

The staff report states, “Staff does not recommend nomination of Alki Elementary School at 3010 59th Avenue SW /5817 SW Stevens Street as it does not appear to meet any of the designation standards”, and provided additional explanation.

If you support nomination, convincing the Board members that this nomination meets one of the six categories in SMC 25.12.350 will be necessary to attain their approval.

Virtual Office Hours

On Friday, April 29, 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) to receive the call-in information and schedule a time.

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, May 27, 2022
  • Friday, June 24, 2022
  • Friday, July 29, 2022
  • Friday, August 19, 2022
  • Friday, September 30, 2022
  • Friday, October 28, 2022
  • Friday, December 16, 2022

 

Share


West Seattle Bridge Update; PayUp Legislation Introduced; Sound Transit Community Advisory Group Meeting April 12; Capital Projects Watch List: South Park Street Drainage; Chinatown/International District walk; City Hall Park Land Transfer; Mayor Begins Police Chief Search Process; Monitor/CPC Outreach meeting on Use of Force April 12; Thanks to Our Tireless Public Health Professionals; Covid Boosters, Test to Treat, and Covid.Gov

April 8th, 2022

West Seattle Bridge Update

Concrete work began on the West Seattle Bridge on Tuesday morning.  The first pours were for expansion joints on the bridge deck, as part of the major maintenance work on the bridge.

SDOT’s statement notes:

“Following the expansion joint concrete pours, we’ll then pour concrete inside the bridge for the improved post-tensioning system that will provide additional strength for the repaired bridge. These bridge repairs require 245 cubic yards – or about 30 truckloads of specialized concrete. Once the concrete structures are done, they’ll be capable of holding more than 20 million pounds of force for decades to come.

While we’re encouraged that our construction crews have begun the concrete work delayed by the strike, we now need to see how the deliveries will go and manage the pours for the next month or so. After the pours are done and the work inspected, we’ll be able to revisit the project schedule and share an update about the timing of the reopening, originally scheduled for mid-2022.”

SDOT noted they will be doing the following construction in West Seattle this weekend:

We’re planning to complete several projects this weekend. We expect to begin work as early as 7 AM and be done by 4:30 PM on Saturday and Sunday. We anticipate minimal impacts to travelers, but please navigate with caution through work zones and follow directions from signs and flaggers.

On Saturday, we’ll be updating curb ramps at 16th Ave SW and SW Barton St in the Highland Park neighborhood. On Sunday, we will be updating curb ramps at 45th Ave SW and Admiral Way SW in the North Admiral neighborhood. Parking will be limited in these areas during this work. People walking and biking in the area will be detoured to the other sides of the intersection for crossing. 

In the North Delridge area, we’ll be installing foundations for future radar speed signs on 16th Ave SW between SW Morgan St and SW Findlay St on Saturday and Sunday. The parking lane will be blocked as we complete this work, however we do not anticipate disrupting traffic or impacting people walking and biking in the area.

 

PayUp Legislation Introduced

I have, for years, worked to support workers in the city of Seattle. Locally we have increased protections for employees including Wage Theft protections, Paid Sick & Safe Time, Fair Chance Employment protections, Schedule Scheduling, Hotel Employee protections, and a strong minimum wage. All of these protections are being undermined because they do not protect workers in one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy: app-based work.  App-based workers, or “gig workers,” aren’t considered employees and many do not have protections like the minimum wage.  40,000 workers in Seattle are app-based workers.

In March 2020, when the pandemic became real for us in Seattle and Washington, tens of thousands of workers stayed home.  Many continue to stay home to this day. Meanwhile, on-demand and marketplace workers have continued to show up. That’s why, in June 2020, the Council passed premium pay for app-based workers. This premium pay is tied to the additional work and hazardous conditions these workers found themselves in the pandemic. This premium pay is the only guaranteed compensation these workers get, and it will eventually be lifted when the public health emergency is lifted.  App-based workers need a long-term solution that comprehensively addresses the concerns they have and their subminimum wage earnings.

We began conversations with stakeholders last June and, as of April 2022, there have been 12 large stakeholder meetings which have included companies like DoorDash, Uber Eats, Rover, Instacart, and others.  Independent contractors who work for those companies also participated and shared their experiences with us. We continue to still have smaller meetings to hear and address concerns from individual companies to ensure that the final policy is one that will work for the businesses, but also provide the necessary pay and protections for their workers.

There has been a lot of reporting on the introduction of this policy, but I was particularly struck by this story reported by Ruby de Luna at KUOW:

“West Seattle orders are not that great. Especially because the West Seattle Bridge is closed — and Grubhub will not acknowledge that the West Seattle Bridge is closed. So, your mileage, it’s not going to be correct; your time is not going to be correct. And as you’re going to West Seattle, you’re going to be constantly getting these messages. And I forget what the exact wording of the message says, but the gist of it is: “Hey, you’re going the wrong way,” and, “You’re late. Please correct that.” But as everyone knows, you can’t go over the bridge, because it’s closed. You have to go all the way around.

“I called Grubhub and demanded that they pay me for the mileage and the time, make the mileage and time adjustment. And then I reminded them also that the West Seattle Bridge was closed and to please fix it. They told me the same thing that they tell me every single time — that they will have the information that I gave them, they will escalate it up to the next person and somebody will be in contact with me. I think, the West Seattle Bridge has been closed, what, three years now? Nobody’s ever contacted me.”

While app-based workers sometimes make below minimum wage or even lose money on this work, the companies are reporting unprecedented growth and billions in revenue:

There are six issues areas that are slated to comprise the PayUp policy proposal:

  1. Minimum Payment, Transparency and Flexibility
  2. Restroom Access
  3. Anti-Discrimination
  4. Background Checks
  5. Deactivation
  6. Advisory Board

The first bill is sponsored by Councilmember Andrew Lewis and I.  It was unveiled this week and it addresses minimum payment, transparency, and flexibility:

  • Minimum Payment – Ensuring app-based workers earn the minimum wage plus expenses.
  • Transparency – Providing app-based workers with the information they need to make informed choices about which offers to accept, and to ensure they will be paid minimum wage for jobs they perform. The legislation also provides transparency to customers on the nature of charges, including amounts paid to workers vs money retained by the company.
  • Flexibility – Protecting workers’ flexibility, including the right to freely choose jobs and hours.

The bill will be heard in the Public Safety and Human Services Committee on April 12, as well as on April 26, and May 10 where we hope to pass final amendments before sending to Full Council.

For additional information about the policy proposal, Councilmember Lewis and I published a website about PayUp that further explains the policy proposal, stakeholder engagement, committee discussions, and includes links to media coverage and frequently asked questions.  You can watch the full press conference on the introduction of the bill here.

 

Sound Transit Community Advisory Group Meeting April 12

The West Seattle/Duwamish Community Advisory Group to Sound Transit will meet on April 12 from 5-7 p.m.

The topic of the meeting is listed as “Draft EIS, Potential Costs Savings, Refinements.” You can access information about the meeting on the “Advisory Groups” tab on Sound Transit’s West Seattle and Ballard light rail website.

Here’s where you can view the meeting live.

Information about Community Advisory Group meetings for Interbay/Ballard, Downtown, and CID/SODO are available at the Advisory Group tab at the project website.

 

Capital Projects Watch List: South Park Street Drainage

The Finance and Housing Committee approved a resolution to establish a Watch List of large, complex, discrete capital projects that will require quarterly monitoring reports for the 2022 calendar year. This requirement derives from legislation I sponsored several years ago to establish enhanced oversight, after several capital project cost overruns.

The resolution includes the “South Park Stormwater Program” listed in Seattle Public Utilities. This project is to install a pump station to control flooding in South Park.

There is however a related project in SDOT called the “SPU Drainage Partnership—South Park”. The SDOT 2022-2027 Capital Improvement Program notes, regarding the pump station, “However, that alone will not control flooding. Many streets in the area are in poor condition and don’t have a street drainage collection system. This funding allows SPU and SDOT to partner to install the needed collection systems and repair the deteriorated roads.”

To ensure the SDOT portion of the project is also included in this enhanced review, I sponsored an Amendment to add this SDOT project to the Watch List.

 

Chinatown/International District Walk

Last Saturday night last, I joined the weekly public safety walk in the Chinatown International District.  CID Community Watch was started in June 2020 by Matthew Toles, shortly after vandals smashed their way through several businesses in the Chinatown/International District during protests against racism and police brutality.

Volunteers from the group started patrolling the neighborhood, hoping their visibility would make the neighborhood less of a target for crime or unsafe behavior.  They recently received a grant to teach self-defense workshops for seniors and situational awareness. The workshops will begin in April.

I enjoyed talking to these community members and thanking them for doing their part to promote community safety, every Saturday night rain or shine, for almost two years.  They hand out water, food, and check on the well-being of people living unsheltered in the CID, going tent to tent all along Jackson.  They have resolved conflicts that could otherwise turn into violence and they have provided life-saving assistance to their neighbors.  I know that they are also excited the SPD has a new officer, assigned to the King Sector (CID), who is Chinese American and speaks three dialects of Chinese:  Mandarin, Taishanese, and Cantonese.

 

City Hall Park Land Transfer

At the end of last year, then-Mayor Durkan proposed a transfer of land between the City and King County.  King County would receive City Hall Park, an important and rare open space in south downtown, and the City would receive thirteen much smaller properties scattered around the City, including three properties in South Park, and two in West Seattle.  You can find a list of the properties  here.

At Wednesday’s Public Assets & Homelessness committee meeting, Council began its deliberations on the proposed transfer by hearing from representatives from King County, the Mayor’s Office, Seattle Parks & Recreation, and advocates for the park’s neighbors including Seattle Parks Foundation and Alliance for Pioneer Square.   You can watch the discussion here, starting at about 24’.

There are several questions I’ll be raising as Council considers the legislation to transfer the land.

  • Preserving Park Use: For hundreds of downtown residents, City Hall Park is their local green and open space, and the only significant size park in the area. Just like any other neighborhood, we must safeguard their access to local park and open space.
  • Activating the Park: King County employees have expressed safety concerns about the park, which they must navigate to access their workplace. Simply transferring ownership of the park will do nothing to address these concerns.  Instead, we must collaborate with partners to activate the park.  It’s been done to great success in Occidental Park and others, and we should replicate that model for City Hall Park.  There is a park design to facilitate necessary changes to the park as well, championed by former City Councilmember Bagshaw.
  • The Spirit of I-42: The ordinance adopting Initiative 42 requires that the City, in exchange for park property, must receive “land or a facility of equivalent or better size, value, location and usefulness in the vicinity, serving the same community and the same park purposes.” Some of the 13 properties proposed for the swap are less than 300 square feet; and they are scattered throughout the city as far away as Ballard and Wedgwood.  I am concerned about setting a poor precedent if we supersede those requirements.
  • District 1 Impact: I’d like to better understand the condition and intended use for the thirteen properties proposed to exchange for City Hall Park – and particularly, the five in District 1, below. The property on S Rose Street is adjacent to South Park Plaza, currently under development with significant community involvement, and appears to offer Duwamish River access.  I want to ensure communities can weigh in on these properties before they are transferred for parks use.

1239 S Rose Street, #218500-0895, 17,268 sf

Cesar Chavez Park – 2 properties, 700 S Cloverdale St, #788360-3130, 7,980 sf

W Duwamish GB – SW Othello, #211520-0100, 3,030 sf

Duwamish Head GB – SW Walker St, #915160-0735, 291 sf

 

Mayor Begins Police Chief Search Process

Mayor Harrell has announced the first steps in the search for a permanent police chief in Seattle.

The position of Chief of Police is one of the most important in City government. This is underscored by the unique requirement in the City Charter that the Chief be chosen from among the three highest ranking candidates in a competitive examination. I thank Mayor Harrell for committing to public outreach to help inform his decision on making this appointment, and for noting this Charter requirement in his announcement as well.

 

Monitor/CPC Outreach Meeting on Use of Force April 12

The Consent Decree Monitor and the Community Police Commission will hold a community engagement meeting on the Use of Force preliminary assessment published by the monitor.

You can sign in for the meeting here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the webinar.

Here’s a link to the Monitor’s Preliminary Assessment: Use of Force page. That site includes the Use of Force Preliminary Assessment  and a Community Feedback Form, where you can provide written comments to the following questions:

  • Based on this assessment data and insights, what specific ideas do you have to improve Use of Force in Seattle?
  • Based on the assessment data and insights, what research or advocacy on Use of Force should the Seattle Community Police Commission pursue in 2022?
  • Based on this assessment data and insights, what Use of Force policy and practice areas, if any, should the Federal Monitor oversee implementation on in 2022?

The goal of these Community Engagement Sessions is to inform the public on the overall progress of the Consent Decree, to get the Community’s direct input on what comes next in Seattle in police reform and how the City proceeds after the Consent Decree.

 

Thanks to Our Tireless Public Health Professionals

This week is National Public Health Week, a time to celebrate the dedicated people working to improve public health across the country and here in King County.  We’re all familiar with the difficult, life-saving work that public health employees have been doing to combat Covid over the past two years.  Because of their efforts, Seattle and King County have led the nation in reducing caseloads and deaths.

Here in King County, they’ve also continued ongoing work to improve health and wellness, leading efforts as varied as:

  • equitable wastewater planning
  • reducing tuberculosis by identifying latent infections
  • parent-child health programs to ensure healthy pregnancies and babies
  • improving access to healthy food
  • promoting medications to suppress HIV; and
  • combatting overdose deaths by lowering the barriers to medication-assisted treatment.

For all this, they have earned our deep gratitude, and I send my personal thanks to our tireless Public Health workers.

 

Covid Boosters, Test to Treat, and Covid.Gov

Covid Boosters: Everyone age 50 or older is now eligible for a 2nd Covid booster shot – along with everyone age 12 and up who is immunocompromised.  If you are eligible, you can get the second booster at least four months after your first booster. COVID-19 vaccine is free and no insurance required at this time at King County’s vaccination sites.

Enter your zip code in Washington’s Vaccine Locator tool or check King County’s Getting Vaccinated page to find a vaccination site near you.

One-Stop “Test To Treat” Clinics:  The federal government has launched “Test To Treat,” a new way to quickly access free lifesaving treatment for COVID-19.  All in one place, you can get tested for Covid – and if you’re positive and eligible for treatment – and receive and fill an appropriate prescription from a qualified health care provider. If you got a positive test result from an at-home test or another testing site, you can also use a Test to Treat location to receive a prescription from a qualified health care provider and treatment on the spot, if eligible.  Learn more and find a location near you at Test To Treat (hhs.gov).

Covid.Gov:  COVID.gov is a new one-stop shop website to help all people in the U.S. gain even better access to lifesaving tools like vaccines, tests, treatments, and masks, as well as get the latest updates on COVID-19 in their area.  Check it out for free masks, tests, and other resources.

Share


West Seattle Bridge Update; Citywide hiring SLI response; Design Commission April 7 meeting on Duwamish crossing and Delridge station; Call for musicians at WS art walks; HSD’s new Farm to Table RFP; SCL looking for feedback on an RV charging station proposal for Morgan Junction; SDOT seeking advisory board members, deadline extended to April 10

April 1st, 2022

West Seattle Bridge Concrete Update

The work to attain the specialized concrete needed for the guiding and anchoring the steel cables for the West Seattle Bridge has continued this week.

The most recent update is that, on Monday, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) Materials Laboratory approved the concrete mix design, a necessary step before concrete can be delivered.  Kraemer, the West Seattle Bridge repair contractor, is now trying to schedule deliveries from Cadman.   When the concrete is delivered, the SPU Materials Lab will be on site testing and taking samples to assure SDOT that the quality of the delivered concrete is up to standard and suitable for the task.

SDOT has announced it will be carrying out several road projects over the weekend, as follows:

On Saturday, we’ll be working in several locations. 

  • Updating curb ramps on 45th Ave SW and SW Admiral Way. We may need to shift travel lanes slightly to complete this work, but the street will still be accessible to traffic.   
  • Making several pavement updates on 16th Ave SW in the Highland Park neighborhood, including such as:
    • Installing crosswalks at 16th Ave SW and SW Myrtle St
    • Installing pavement markings and crosswalks on 16th Ave SW between Cambridge St and Roxbury St
    • Restoring the pavement markings at 16th Ave SW and SW Barton St
  • Restoring pavement markings on West Marginal Way between 2nd Ave SW and Highland Park Way. We’ll also be installing reflectors on West Marginal Way to help with visibility on rainy days. This work will take multiple weekends to complete.
  • Installing a speed hump and completing remaining construction activities on SW Webster St between 12th Ave SW and 15th Ave SW in Highland Park where we built a natural drainage system earlier this month. Traffic will still be allowed in both directions.
  • Replacing overhead signs on West Marginal Way as it approaches the Chelan 5-way intersection and on the Fauntleroy Expressway just before the West Seattle Bridge onramp.

Citywide Hiring SLI Request

Last week, the Executive delivered a report the Council requested during the budget process on Citywide hiring incentives.  I raised this issue during 2022 budget discussions.

The report notes several positions across departments that are critical to city business needs and are challenging to fill, including but not limited to police officers and 911 dispatchers, as Council suspected when requesting the report. The report notes:

“The following positions were listed as critical to City business needs and challenging to fill:

Carpenter; HVAC Technicians; Plumber; Skilled Trades; Truck Drivers; Cashiers; Recreation Attendants; Electrical Inspectors; IT Programmer; Public Safety Auditor; Sr. Civil Engineer; Veterinarian; Police Officers; 911 Dispatchers.”

The report says that hiring incentives have both potential benefits and drawbacks. It notes that while hiring bonuses can be successful in producing a clear benefit, it may have only limited impact on employee retention, and can affect morale of existing employees (I observed this in meeting with 911 dispatchers). The report emphasizes the importance of competitive wages, supportive work conditions, and career opportunities for employee retention:

“Signing bonuses for newly hired external talent can negatively impact employee morale. Employees promoted internally or already working in the job can feel undervalued and unappreciated when their financial package does not match what external recruits receive. The potential for breaking trust is greater now, with many of the current City employees in identified hard-to-fill jobs working on the front line during the pandemic.”

The report notes, regarding incentives offered late in 2021,

“The Seattle Police Department (SPD) did not experience an increase in hiring since implementing a hiring incentive into their process in October 2021. The Community Safety and Communications Center (CSCC), however, did see an increase in candidates entering the hiring process since the implementation of an incentive in October 2021.”

The report also notes “The issue of whether SPD has seen benefits from incentives is incredibly difficult to conclude because the incentives have been offered and removed several times.”

In 2019 SPD completed a Recruitment and Retention Report as recruitment had begun to be more difficult during years prior to 2019.  The report focused on four initiatives: consistent engagement throughout the hiring process; speeding up the background check process needed for officers; flexible testing (the report noted only 30-35% of candidates who apply completed the entry-level exam); and what it called a “Seattle Sampler” of enhancing relationships with the Seattle community.

The Council has funded a number of these initiatives, and recently the Public Safety and Human Services Committee held a briefing with Chief Diaz’ initiative, Before the Badge training, to implement the recommendation for enhancing links with the community for officers before they enter the state academy.

The report notes, regarding bonuses the Council authorized earlier that year, “Approximately 18% of SPD applicants (20% among applicants of color and 19% among female-identifying applicants) cited the incentive as an “important factor” in their decision to apply with those who more recently started exploring a career in policing showing a more pronounced effect.”  That’s a small percentage of applicants that say the bonus was important to their decision to apply.  Further it includes no information about whether more people applied when the bonus program was in effect for a year.

A final evaluation of the incentive program was due to the Council in April 2020 but was never completed due to the COVID pandemic.

Chief Diaz has explained that a one-size fits all bonus for all SPD recruits may not be the right fix.  Instead, a way forward might be to allow city funds to be used when newly hired officers from other jurisdictions need to relocate to Seattle.   Officers who relocate to Seattle are often coming from departments in cities that offer significantly lower salaries than Seattle.  Those officers sometimes do not have enough personal savings for moving expenses. Chief Diaz has suggested that being able to offer relocation costs can be particularly helpful for recruiting officers of color working from smaller jurisdictions, who may find that they have better opportunities working in a large city like Seattle.

It’s noteworthy that the City of Seattle pays relocation costs for some employees, usually department heads relocating from other places.  Extending this to police officers and other city positions identified in the SLI report as “critical to City business needs and challenging to fill” is a path forward that I could support.

More discussion will take place during coming weeks.

Design Commission Meeting on Sound Transit Delridge/Duwamish crossing

On April 7, the Seattle Design Commission will review the West Seattle portion of Sound Transit’s light rail project. The review will be of the guideway portion in Delridge and the crossing over the Duwamish.

Here’s a link to the meeting agenda, which includes links to make a comment to the Design Commission, or for accessing the online meeting.

Call For Musicians at West Seattle Junction Art Walks

The West Seattle Junction Association plans to present several performances by musicians in the heart of the West Seattle Junction to take place during the Junction’s Second Thursday Art Walks, beginning this summer.  Apply here to be considered for performing for 90 minutes at an Art of Music event (6:00 pm to 7:45 pm with one 15-minute break at the midway point).  All locations are in West Seattle.

Musicians/bands chosen to perform for The Art of Music will receive a payment of at least $150 and can set out a tip jar, business cards, self-promotional fliers, and CDs for sale.  Applications will be accepted until performers are hired for all the 2022 events; the earlier your application, the more events for which you can be considered. Apply Here.

Funding Opportunity: Farm to Table Food

This week, the City’s Human Services Department (HSD) announced that $839,815 will be available for organizations and farmers interested in food equity for Seattle Preschool Programs, serving low-income children and families.  The Farm to Table Support Services Request For Proposals (RFP) will invest in healthy, local, sustainable, culturally relevant food access and education in approximately 50 Seattle Preschool Programs across the city, serving 2,000 young people aged three to five. There are two program components:

  • Nutrition Education: Increase education on healthy, nutritious, and culturally relevant foods for children, families, and staff in Seattle Preschool Programs
  • Farm to Family Food Bags: Increase access and consumption of fresh and local produce to Seattle Preschool Program children, families, and staff by providing take-home Farm to Family Food Bags

HSD hopes to invest in food that is culturally relevant; sourced from Washington State farmers; and sourced from farms owned and operated by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) farmers and business owners, immigrants and refugees, and women.

Initial funding will be for the period of January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023.  Applications are due May 3rd.  Learn more here.


Morgan Junction EV Charging Station Proposal

Seattle City Light (SCL) owned property at 4118 SW Morgan Street is being considered for an electric vehicle (EV) charging station with up to eight chargers. The project would include new trees, landscaping, paved areas, and fencing.

If built, anyone with an electric vehicle will be able to use the charging station for a fee which is designed to pay for electricity and the cost of the station. Construction could begin as soon as the 4th quarter of this year and take approximately three months to complete.

SCL also notes:

“Many of the existing trees are dying or in poor health. Because the contamination requiring removal extends throughout most of their roots, the existing trees will not likely survive after the environmental cleanup, even with the contractor using best practices for tree preservation to remove the contaminated soil. City Light will therefore remove the trees on the property to ensure that all contamination is cleaned and allow for the construction of the charging station and new tree and vegetation plantings.

As part of the charging station project, City Light will plant replacement trees at the property to provide healthy, long-term greenery for the neighborhood. Crews will replace each removed tree with two new trees, per City of Seattle Executive Order 03-05. The utility will plant some replacement trees at other locations because of the limited space at the former substation property.

To improve the property’s appearance, City Light proposes to remove the existing chain link fence and replace it with a decorative fence along the alley and around the planned transformer at the eastern edge of the property. Shrubs are proposed for the north and south parts of the property to beautify and provide a visual barrier. Crews will plant native groundcover in non-paved areas. Where possible, City Light will use vegetation that offers local ecological benefits, such as for pollinator species”

You can fill out the survey here to provide your feedback through April 22.

SDOT Seeks Advisory Board Members; Deadline Extended to April 10

SDOT is seeking applications to serve on several of the department’s advisory boards, including the Pedestrian, Freight and Transit advisory boards, the Levy to Move Seattle Oversight Committee and the School Traffic Safety Committee.

You can apply for any of the boards listed below on the City Clerk’s website.  More information, including links to the individual board pages, is posted here on the SDOT blog.

They have extended the deadline to apply to April 10.

Share


West Seattle Bridge Update; Reminder: March 30 West Seattle-Specific Sound Transit Public Hearing; Libraries Adding Operating Hours – Masks Encouraged; Public Safety and Human Services Committee Update; Andover Area Update; 3rd/Pine Bus Stop Temporary Closure; South Park Neighborhood Center Landmarks Board Nomination; Industrial Maritime Engagement in South Park; Vision Zero Signs; Apply to Become an Affordable Home Owner

March 25th, 2022

West Seattle Bridge Update

Earlier this week—March 23rd—marked just over two years since the closure of the West Seattle Bridge. I want to take a moment to acknowledge how difficult this has been for residents and businesses on the peninsula and Duwamish communities.  Getting the bridge open as soon as possible remains a high priority for all of us.

Concrete

The need to obtain the specialized concrete that can hold more than 20 million pounds of force and sustain that strength for decades, has been the key issue impacting the schedule.

The return of concrete mixer drivers to work at some companies has provided an opportunity to source concrete needed to guide and anchor steel cables needed for the West Seattle Bridge repair. I appreciate the willingness of concrete mixer drivers to return to work, despite the strike not being resolved.

Of the companies that mixer drivers have resumed work at, only Cadman can provide the specialized concrete required for the bridge. In mid-week, SDOT let me know that the next step was to receive a concrete mix design from Cadman, which will need to be certified by the Materials Lab at SPU.

The concrete mix design was received yesterday from Cadman and it is now  at the Materials Lab (at Seattle Public Utilities) for certification.  I checked with SPU about the certifications process, and how long it might take.

Regarding the process, the Materials Lab “receives a package of proposed concrete mixes from our Contractor.  In that package are proposed concrete mix proportions, certifications, material test results and product information that Materials Laboratory staff compares with the City of Seattle Standard Specifications, as well as project specific specifications, to determine if the proposed mix(es) are compliant and suitable for the proposed purpose.  There are several possible outcomes of this review, from outright rejection to unconditional acceptance. It is not uncommon to return the submittal and ask for more information before final disposition of the proposed mix(es) is made.  Concrete mixes are not approved until the SPU Materials Laboratory is comfortable that they comply with all applicable standards and that they can be mixed, transported and placed to achieve project design criteria and provide lasting service.”

The Materials Lab noted they received the proposed concrete mix design late yesterday.  They helpfully noted the need to expedite review.  They have let me know that they expect to have the review for the proposed mix done in fairly short order.  I appreciate their recognition of the importance of this project and willingness to prioritize this work.

They also emphasized they are working with the project structural engineer in the review for concurrence.

Reconnect West Seattle Updates

Here are a few updates on Reconnect West Seattle projects.

SDOT has installed traffic monitoring cameras at the 2nd Ave SW and Highland Park Way SW intersection and the West Marginal Way SW and Highland Park Way SW intersection.

They will use these cameras to monitor how traffic is flowing on the detour routes so that they can make signal timing changes as needed.

SDOT provided the following update on Home Zone projects:

In the next few months, we’re building several Home Zone projects in West Seattle and the Duwamish Valley. Exact timing of these projects depends on our SDOT crew availability and weather conditions. Neighbors living near these projects are being notified of the upcoming work.

Here are a few upcoming projects used to help slow down traffic and make conditions safer for people walking, biking, and rolling:

  • 9th Ave SW, S Trenton St, S Henderson St, 14th Ave SW, and 6th Ave S: Adding vegetation, installing drainage, and building concrete curbs throughout the South Park Home Zone.
  • 16th Ave SW and SW Myrtle St: Installing new flashing beacons at one of the existing crosswalks. The crosswalks and parking lines will also be repainted (note: installation is planned for this weekend)
  • 16th Ave SW between SW Cambridge St and SW Roxbury St: Repainting center lines, parking lane lines, and bike lane lines for the whole block. New painted curb bulbs will also be installed on either side of the existing mid-block crosswalk.
  • 16th Ave SW near South Seattle Community College: Installing radar speed signs for southbound traffic at 16th Ave SW and SW Findlay St and northbound traffic at 16th Ave SW and SW Morgan St. Pavement markings and traffic signage will also be updated along the corridor.

 

Reminder: March 30 West Seattle-Specific Sound Transit Public Hearing

Sound Transit will be holding a West Seattle/Duwamish crossing-focused virtual public hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact for the West Seattle and Ballard light rail project.

The public hearing is on March 30th, starting at 5:30 p.m.

You can add this meeting to your calendar, and find the zoom link for the meeting at the “Get Involved” tab of Sound Transit’s project webpage.

Here’s a link to the 14 pages in the Draft EIS Executive Summary that cover the three segments for West Seattle: 1) Duwamish crossing; 2) Delridge (which includes both the Delridge and Avalon Stations); and 3) West Seattle Junction. This includes the alternatives shown on maps; cost estimates; impacts; charts showing the height of stations and elevated guideways; and some visual simulations.

You can also provide written comments on the “Comment Now” tab of the project webpage; the public comment period is open through April 28.

You can view presentations and videos of the West Seattle/Duwamish Community Advisory Group on the “Advisory Groups” tab.

After completion of the Draft EIS public comment period, the Sound Transit Board will select options to be analyzed in the Final EIS.

 

Libraries Adding Operating Hours; Masks Encouraged

Additional Hours:  Starting Wednesday, Seattle Public Libraries announced they will add back some operating hours, after a winter of reductions driven by staffing shortages.  Tom Fay, Chief Librarian of The Seattle Public Library said, “This is another step toward our return to pre-pandemic levels of operation. We also look forward to offering some additional hours in the coming months, fulfilling the promise we made to Seattle residents when they generously supported the 2019 Library Levy.”

D1 branches will be open these hours, starting Wednesday, March 30.  Changes from the current schedule are highlighted.

Masks Encouraged:  As of Saturday, March 12, Library visitors are strongly encouraged, but no longer required, to wear masks while inside Library buildings. To protect the most vulnerable patrons and staff, Library staff will continue to wear masks, and offer free masks to patrons at dispensers in each Library.

Any Library patron can request curbside service for pickup of your holds.  Just call the branch’s phone number (find it here) to let staff know you have arrived and need assistance with your holds’ pickup.

 

Public Safety and Human Services Committee Update

The Public Safety and Human Committee met on March 22nd to consider several topics; updates are included below.

First, the committee voted to affirm the process the Mayor is following for selecting a permanent director to the Office of Police Accountability, which investigates allegations of misconduct. Under the 2017 accountability ordinance, the Mayor appoints the OPA Director, subject to Council confirmation. June 30 is the date listed for the Mayor to nominate from among three finalists recommended by a search committee. The 2017 accountability legislation requires one quarter of the search committee members to be Community Police Commission commissioners.

Secondly, Police Chief Diaz presented the SPD 2022 Strategic Plan. The plan includes a high-level description of the approach SPD is taking on crime, gun violence, reform, technology and data, recruitment and other issues.

Next, the committee voted to approve $3 million in UASI (Urban Areas Security Initiative) grants; SPD manages receipt of the grants, though the funds go to several local jurisdictions. As the staff memo notes, “Project funding decisions are made through a collaborative process involving multiple public safety emergency response agencies located throughout Snohomish, King, and Pierce Counties.”

I proposed an amendment the committee adopted noting that any equipment purchased with these funds by SPD is subject to SMC 14.18, the City’s surveillance technology law.

Finally, the Office of Emergency Management also presented their 2021 Race and Social Justice Initiative Report.  Some of their accomplishments include:

  • Realigning staffing for equitable engagement
  • Planning policy codified engagement practices
  • Pilot focus groups
  • Equity Analysis of earthquake impacts
  • Afghani community outreach (which is important because of the increased number of refugees after the US withdrawal)
  • Low barrier application process for partner organizations, and
  • Seismic retrofit of the Bremer apartment

 

Andover Area Update

Many constituents have written to me over the years and more recently as well regarding the several RVs located on SW Andover next to Nucor and the West Seattle Health Club.   A shooting this week highlights the need for additional efforts to address this location. Fortunately, the victim is in stable condition and a suspect is in custody.

Before I get into how I have been trying to address the issues at this location, I need to explain the legal context.  While the City had not been enforcing the 72-hour parking law at all during the COVID pandemic, it is important to note that the decision to limit enforcement of this law towards people living in their vehicles predates the COVID19 moratorium. Even before the enactment of the 72-hour parking law moratorium in response to COVID19 and CDC guidance, SPD had been using discretion, and generally only enforcing the law against people living in their vehicles after outreach and referral efforts, and generally focused on areas specifically selected for the RV remediation program.

This Seattle Times article explains why.  This Washington State Supreme Court case places legal limits on how the City enforces parking laws against individuals living in their vehicles.  This court’s ruling in this lawsuit is the reason why SPD so carefully uses its discretion, rather than simply towing every vehicle in violation of the law.

I have repeatedly advocated for city action at the Andover location, both under the previous administration, and I, in January, confirmed that the new administration was aware of the Andover neighbors’ concerns. On February 9, I met with the Mayors’ Office, SPU, the City Attorney, and SDOT to discuss how SDOT is mostly maintaining the moratorium on enforcement of the 72 hours parking ordinance, and only enforcing as relates to abandoned vehicles. Additionally, in a recent article about RVs in Ballard SDOT was quoted:

“SDOT parking enforcement is continuing to focus on clearing abandoned and unoccupied vehicles,” said press secretary Ethan Bergerson. “SDOT at this time is not impounding vehicles which are occupied by people refusing to relocate.”

The City of Seattle did conduct a clean-up for the area with the SPU RV Remediation program between November 30 and Friday, December 3. At that time, SPU collected 7,600 pounds of debris during their efforts.

Last week I again reached out to Mayor Harrell’s office to follow up on our February meeting about the Andover location and was told last week that: “On 3/3 SPU conducted a site assessment of the Andover location and it is currently ranked high enough for a Remediation next month.” Just like the SDOT quote above about the RV’s in Ballard, the Mayor’s office told me that the planned remediation next month for Andover does not include enforcement of the 72-hour parking ordinance. Additionally, the Mayor’s Office let me know that SDOT is developing a policy for enforcing – when appropriate – the 72-hour parking ordinance for vehicles being used as residences and doing so in a way that addresses the limitations created by the State Supreme Court decision referenced above.

Finally, it’s important to include that last year I helped obtain funding for a “safe lot,” a location for RVs to park. The funding wasn’t implemented by the previous Mayor.  The King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) now has jurisdiction for homelessness response in both the City of Seattle and throughout King County.   Consequently, the safe lot funding that I championed was transferred from the City of Seattle to the KCRHA.  In January, KCRHA voted on their budget which included the City’s funding for RV Storage and RV Safe Lots. The Request for Proposal will be released this month for almost $2 million, you can see an overview of that here. KCRHA has convened a vehicle residency workgroup that is working on solutions for vehicle residents across a lot of specific subplans, you can see that presentation here.

In addition to regularly calling SPU for garbage pick-ups, RV remediation visits, and septic pump outs, and regularly asking Southwest Precinct Captain Rivera for increased SPD patrols in the area, I repeatedly emphasize to the Executive that the neighbors in this area have had a significant number of RVs as neighbors for 3 years now and deserve some additional attention to address the community impacts.

3rd / Pine Bus Stop Temporary Closure

King County Metro announced the temporary closure of a bus stop at 3rd Avenue and Pine Downtown. The announcement notes:

“In partnership with the City of Seattle’s public safety efforts, the northbound bus stop at Third Avenue and Pine Street in downtown Seattle will temporarily close April 2, and bus service will shift one block south, near Third and Pike.

The stop (No. 578) serves routes 15, 125, and RapidRide C, D and E Lines. Riders for all affected routes will be able to board a bus or exit at the new stop (No. 575), located on Third Avenue just south of Pike Street next to the Ross Dress for Less store (301 Pike St.), until further notice.

The temporary stop relocation is part of efforts by the City of Seattle to enhance public safety in the area.”

 

South Park Neighborhood Center Landmarks Board Nomination

The Landmarks Preservation Board met earlier this month and voted to nominate the South Park Neighborhood Center, also known as the former Fire Station 26, as a city landmark. You can see the nomination packet here. The Board will make a final decision about whether to designate the building as a landmark at a future meeting.

 

Industrial Maritime Engagement in South Park

The City of Seattle is studying options to updating zoning for industrial areas with potential changes to shape new buildings and activities within industrial areas. For additional information about the City’s Industrial and Maritime strategies go here.

The South Park meeting is in-person on Tuesday the 29th starting at 6pm at the South Park Community Center (8319 8th Ave S). Below is a list of engagement meetings in other areas throughout Seattle.


Vision Zero Signs

SDOT has announced they will be installing signs at 13 intersections to promote pedestrian safety, as part of the Vision Zero program, by encouraging drivers to stop for pedestrians.

The signs note the percent of drivers who stop for pedestrians at the intersection, as required under state law.

The first signs were installed in West Seattle at 34th Ave SW and SW Morgan, and at Sylvan Way SW and SW Sylvan Heights Drive.

SDOT’s announcement notes this is based on a traffic safety approach used in St Paul, Minnesota, that found signs doubled the number of drivers who stopped for pedestrians at those intersections.

 

Apply to Become an Affordable Home Owner

Applications are now open to purchase affordable townhomes on 15th Avenue SW in Delridge, offered by Habitat for Humanity-King County to anyone making less than 80% area median income, which is about $82,000 for a family of three.

  • For 2-bedroom homes, the housing payments will be between $1,550.00 – $2,200.00.
  • For 3-bedroom homes, payments will be between $1,850.00 – $2,500.00.
  • Homes will be resale restricted to provide permanent affordability.
  • Must be willing to partner and complete sweat equity hours.
  • Must meet lender requirements and secure financing to meet minimum mortgage amount.

Learn more and apply here.

Share


West Seattle Bridge Update; Seattle Transportation Plan Update; Water Outage Planned March 22/23 in South Delridge; State Legislative Agenda; Groundbreaking at Pride Place, Senior Housing for LGBTQ+ Elders; It’s Budget Time Already at the Regional Homelessness Authority; Delridge Expansion of Seattle Preschool Program – Apply Now

March 18th, 2022

West Seattle Bridge Update

On Tuesday March 15th, Teamsters Local 174 concrete mixer drivers offered to return to work at three locations: Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel, Cadman Seattle, and Lehigh Cement.

Their statement recognized the importance of the West Seattle Bridge repair; I thank them for noting this. The companies responded, noting they needed five days to reinstate the mixer drivers.

The City’s contract language for public works projects like the West Seattle Bridge gives contractors autonomy to select concrete suppliers. Kraemer North America has already reached out to all three of the companies.

Since November, Kraemer North America, the contractor for the West Seattle Bridge repair project, has made the decision to honor the strike and not find another way to get the concrete.  This is both because of the safety concerns with sourcing concrete from other suppliers and because there are a number of other construction unions who have taken a position of solidarity with Teamsters 174.  Had Kramer North America made a different decision, we could see other workers walking off the job, such as the Carpenters and Ironworkers.

The West Seattle Bridge program requires specialized concrete, capable of holding more than 20 million pounds of force and sustaining its strength for decades. This is different than the kind of concrete that is needed for a street or sidewalk, which does not need to hold up to the same kinds of force.

Kraemer has reached out to all the concrete suppliers to determine who can supply the special type of concrete needed for the West Seattle Bridge and other details about timing and logistics.

Work on the bridge is continuing every day, and there are several concurrent construction efforts underway, including:

  • Filling existing cracks with epoxy injections
  • Increasing the strength of the bridge using carbon wrapping
  • A variety of other activities like core drilling for the post-tensioning system.
  • Limiting future cracking by strengthening the bridge’s post-tensioning system. This system will ultimately require concrete and cannot move forward until concrete is poured and cured.

The sequencing of some other work has been adjusted to enhance the ability of continuing other work that can be done without the concrete.

 

Seattle Transportation Plan Update

SDOT is beginning work on a new Seattle Transportation Plan.

The City Council’s Transportation and Seattle Public Utilities Committee held a briefing and presentation about this on Tuesday the 15th.

One goal of the plan is to integrate, and replace, the various “modal” master plans, of which there are currently four: Transit, Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Freight. The various plans are at SDOT’s Transportation Planning page.  Some plans have annual implementation plans; during the committee discussion I asked about what SDOT plans to replace that with; that is to be determined.

Work is planned to continue through summer of 2023, when the plan will be completed, with three phases of public engagement, starting in Spring through Fall of this year.

You can take a survey and sign up for e-mail updates at the Seattle Transportation Plan webpage. The survey is available in several languages.

Below are links for the plan in several languages:

አማርኛاَلْعَرَبِيَّةُ繁体字日本語ភាសាខ្មែរ한국어ລາວOromiffaрусский языкaf-SoomaaliEspañolTagalogภาษาไทยትግርኛTiếng việt

During the 2022 budget process, the Council approved a budget action requiring SDOT to provide a workplan explaining how the Pedestrian, Bicycle, Freight and Transit Master Plans will be integrated into one citywide plan. Another provision of the budget action required SDOT to report on an outreach plan; they have, and it includes outreach with community-based organizations, including the Duwamish Valley Sustainability Association and other groups.

In addition, the Office of Planning and Community Development is working on an update to the Citywide Comprehensive Plan. Coordination of these efforts is critical.

 

Water Outage Planned March 22/23 in South Delridge

Between 9 p.m. on March 22 and 6 a.m. on March 23, SPU will be performing work on a water main in parts of Westwood, South Delridge and White Center. This will entail temporarily shutting off water access for residences between Barton and Roxbury between 15th and 26th, as well as some blocks to the south of Roxbury, some of which are in White Center (here’s a link to the Seattle City limits map in case you’re interested, where you can see a small segment between Roxbury and SW 98th is part of Seattle).

The map below is from SPU’s Water Outages page, which lists planned outages, and shows where this outage is planned:

Here is advice for SPU for affected residents:

Here are some ways you can prepare for the upcoming water outage:

 Before the water outage:

  • Fill pots on the stove with water for cooking.
  • Fill a couple of buckets with water for washing.
  • Fill potable water containers for drinking.
  • Fill bathtubs with water and use buckets to flush toilets. A toilet will flush when approximately a gallon of water is dumped into the bowl.

 During the water outage:

  • Try not to operate the water faucets. This will prevent air from entering your plumbing.

According to SPU, planned water outages are sometimes needed to keep Seattle’s regional drinking water system flowing with clean, safe, and reliable water to the more than 1.5 million people we serve.

SPU’s Water Outages page has additional information, or you can call (206) 684-5800.

 

State Legislative Agenda

In addition to the gun control legislation the State Legislature adopted and that I wrote about in a previous newsletter, here are some other bills that were included in the city’s State Legislative Agenda and that I lobbied the legislature for, that passed.

Catalytic Converter Theft

l worked with SPD and the City’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations to include in the City’s State Legislative Agenda to address catalytic converter theft:

“We support action to address the theft of catalytic converters, including repealing state’s preemption of the regulation of scrap metal processors.”

HB 1815 passed and was amended to include elements of some of the other bills.  Here’s the final bill report, which includes:

  • A requirement for scrap metal businesses to provide photo ID and street address for a transaction involving a catalytic converter, and to document the catalytic converter in the seller’s possession is from a vehicle registered in the seller’s name
  • A three-day waiting period for payments above $30, and no more than $30 may be in cash;
  • Violations are punishable by $1,000 fine per catalytic converter; 10% of the funds go to a “no–buy” list
  • A catalytic converter theft work group to make recommendations for changes to state law to target illegal purchasers and sellers, strategies for development and maintenance of relationships between local law enforcement agencies and licensed scrap metal recyclers, with a focus on deterring unlawful purchases and identifying individuals suspected of involvement in unlawful metal theft.

Legal Financial Obligations

In addition, SHB1412 passed in this year’s Washington State Legislative session.   This bill relates to the imposition of Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs).  As a recent Seattle Times editorial explains, new and existing research on legal fines and fees illustrate the high social and economic costs of LFOs and show that such policies are badly in need of reform.  HB 1412 establishes standards to reduce legal fines and fees.

In July 2020, my Public Safety and Human Services Committee heard the recommendations in Dr. Alexes Harris’s Legal Financial Obligation report that:

“We suggest that Seattle Municipal Court engage in a broader penological discussion with judges and stakeholders in Washington State about the aim of sentencing and citing people for law violations. What is the aim of sentencing fines and fees to people who violate laws? Is there a way to hold people accountable for violations even when they cannot afford the fines and fees? Are there alternatives to LFO sentences that could possibly improve public safely and to hold people accountable?”

And: “We suggest justice officials work collaboratively to further public safety and enforce a penalty structure that does not lead to racial and economic inequalities such as long-term debt burdens and increased likelihood of incarceration.”

These recommendations led to the inclusion of this issue as a priority in the City of Seattle’s State Legislative Agenda:  “The City supports providing low-income Washington residents with relief from Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs).”

Under the leadership of Presiding Judge Gregory, Seattle Municipal Court (SMC) eliminated all discretionary legal financial obligations (LFOs) for criminal cases in September 2020. In addition SMC consistently suspends or waives criminal fines/fees for individuals who are indigent. As I promoted in my newsletter last month, SMC has also launched a debt reduction calendar to support low-income individuals with unpaid Seattle tickets.

The court has actively supported Seattle City Council initiatives related to understanding the impact of legal financial obligations including conducting a fine and fee inventory as part of the Seattle Reentry Workgroup, collaborating with Seattle Office of Civil Rights to support Dr. Harris’ 2020 report on monetary sanctions in SMC, and they are actively working on SLI SMC-001-A-002 requesting the court report on all fines and fees imposed on court-involved individuals and analyzing associated disproportionality.

I thank the State Legislature for their work reforming LFO policy and I also commend the SMC for leading the way by not only reforming its own LFO policies, but participating in statewide efforts to address the impact of LFOs on low-income individuals across the state, including the Washington State Supreme Court’s Minority and Justice Commission’s LFO Committee. They have provided data and analysis on SMC fines and fees to support the Washington State Institute for Public Policy legislatively mandated effort to understand the imposition of LFO’s across Washington State as well as the Washington State Budget and Policy Center’s work with the Vera Institute to understand non-restitution LFO’s.

 

Groundbreaking at Pride Place, Senior Housing for LGBTQ+ Elders

It’s been a long time coming, but Seattle is on its way to its first affordable housing specifically designed for LGBTQ+ seniors.  Pride Place broke ground in Capitol Hill last fall after years of community advocacy and Council action to support it.  Rents will be affordable to households earning 30% to 60% of the Area Medium Income.

Planned services include…

  • Affordable meals for seniors with an on-site community kitchen and dining space
  • Improve wellness, support, and social network to combat health challenges and isolation by providing recreational, educational, and an on-site health services center
  • Caregiver support, case management, LGBTQ-friendly referrals
  • Facilitate intergenerational LGBTQ mentor and chat programs
  • Trans-specific referrals and support
  • Train regional senior centers and housing providers on how to include culturally competent care in an LGBTQ-affirming environment
  • Serve older LGBTQ adults and their families in King County and beyond

A brief history of the long path toward Pride Place:

  • A 2015 report found that across every Census division in the U.S., Seattle had the least developed services for LGBTQ older adults and their families. And unlike most large cities, we are also running behind on developing housing for LGBTQ seniors.
  • In April of 2016 Council passed legislation that put the Housing Levy on the November 2016 ballot – and specifically called out LGBTQ seniors as a priority population.
  • Capitol Hill Housing (now Community Roots Housing) applied for levy funds for LGBTQ senior housing in 2017, but that request was turned down.
  • Undeterred, the community tried a new approach; and in 2018, Council approved funding for a housing needs study for low-income LGBTQ seniors. Over 500 people completed the survey, which called for creating an LGBTQ Senior Center, and affordable LGBTQ senior housing.
  • Community Roots Housing and GenPride tried again, and secured $9.8M from the Office of Housing for Pride Place, which broke ground in September 2021.

I appreciate the community’s tenacity in pursuing this vision, and I was thrilled to welcome a presentation on the project at Wednesday’s Finance & Housing committee.  You can view the presentation materials here, and watch the presentation here, at the 23:33‘ mark.  Many thanks to Chair Mosqueda for inviting this presentation.

 

It’s Budget Time Already at the Regional Homelessness Authority

On Thursday, I joined the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (RHA) at its Governing Committee meeting, where we received a preview of the RHA’s 2023 budget.  The presentation provided some information about the process they are using to develop next year’s budget and the strategies they hope to fund.  You can view the full presentation here.

My colleagues and I will be asked to approve the RHA’s 2023 budget proposal by the end of April, before it is sent to the County and Seattle for consideration.  I called for an additional meeting in April to review the budget proposal in depth, ask questions, and understand the strategies and outcomes the budget proposal supports.  The RHA is still in its startup phase, and it’s important that the Governing Committee – and interested members of the public – deeply understand its first formal budget proposal.

The RHA also presented on its wholly unique approach to this year’s Point in Time count, a federally-required census of people living unsheltered and in temporary shelters in King County.  RHA staff worked with the federal Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and University of Washington to create a unique methodology that will send qualitative researchers to encampments to ask residents what they need to find housing.


Delridge Expansion of Seattle Preschool Program – Apply Now

This week, Mayor Harrell announced that the award-winning Seattle Preschool Program will expand to Refugee & Immigrant Family Center Bilingual Preschool in Delridge, a Spanish/English program, and six other new sites around the city.  Seattle Preschool Program provides preschool programming for up to 2,144 Seattle three- and four-year-olds, with free or affordable tuition and high-quality learning environments that promote kindergarten readiness.

Learn more, find other locations, and apply at seattle.gov/applySPP. Translated applications are available and additional language assistance is provided for those who need help completing the application process by calling DEEL at 206-386-1050 or emailing preschool@seattle.gov.

Share


West Seattle Bridge; Gun Bills Pass at State Legislature; Sound Transit Draft EIS Public Hearings and Open House; New Bus Stops for West Seattle Routes; SPD Grant Legislation; Apply for a Paid Summer Internship with Seattle Youth Employment Program; Annual Recycling Event; Human Services Department Reports on its Race & Social Justice Accomplishments; Virtual Office Hours

March 11th, 2022

West Seattle Bridge

Last week SDOT began work to start installing carbon-fiber wrap to the west side of the exterior of the bridge. This work will continue on the exterior and inside of the bridge.

Here’s an SDOT photo of exterior carbon fiber wrap:

Carbon fiber wrap works in conjunction with epoxy injections into the cracks to strengthen the concrete.

Below is a chart showing the hourly openings on the lower bridge, and duration, from February 28 through March 4th. There were two occasions with two bridge openings during a one-hour period, on February 28th and March 3rd:

In last week’s blog post I wrote how I inquired with the City’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS is a City department that manages many city contracts) regarding the procedures used for to debarment of contractors.  The City Council in 2005 adopted legislation to establish procedures for this, with a new section 20.70 to the Seattle Municipal Code. One of the grounds for disbarment includes “The Contractor has colluded with another contractor to restrain competition.”

Specifically I inquired about how the debarment power had been used in the past and whether the city has ever initiated a disbarment investigation, and if so, what were the allegations?  I made this inquiry because the Teamsters have argued that the 5 concrete companies are acting as a sort of cartel, perhaps triggering the prohibition against colluded to restrain competition.

FAS responded that last known debarment was in the 1980s against a construction contractor who violated the federal substitution rules for a minority contractor on a federally funded project.  You can read more about it here:  Gary Merlino Constr. Co. v. City of Seattle :: 1987 :: Washington Supreme Court Decisions :: Washington Case Law :: Washington Law :: US Law :: Justia

FAS also explained that: “Typically, FAS would reserve debarment for only the most serious and egregious instances of violating fair contracting practices. With the current information available, FAS does not see that the City would be able to reasonably initiate an investigation to seek evidence that there is collusion occurring among the five companies.”

This week King County Executive Constantine’s letter to Attorney General Ferguson raises similar concerns that “coordination among the concrete companies has created an effective oligopoly and rendered fair and effective bargaining, including mediation, untenable:”

2022-0225- Request for Attorney General Office from King County re Concrete Strike[66] – DocumentCloud

In response, I have requested the FAS pursue additional inquiry on this matter and review the information to determine how we might best seek assistance from the Seattle City Attorney to a. determine whether this is sufficient evidence to initiate an investigation and b. to conduct the investigation.

 

Gun Bills Pass at State Legislature

We have seen an increase in gun violence in Seattle and the region, as in numerous other locations throughout the country. Addressing this requires local, regional and statewide action. In recognition of the need for state action, the Council included in the 2022 State Legislative Agenda it adopted the following:

“We support common sense, responsible solutions to reduce gun violence, including efforts to limit high-capacity magazines, rejecting intimidation by limiting open carry of firearms in politically charged and contentious environments. We believe in maintaining funding for critical gun violence prevention research and intervention projects and that local governments should have the ability to regulate firearms or weapons to ensure the safety of their communities in accordance with local circumstances.”

The state legislature has voted to approve three important gun control bills during the session that just concluded.

First of all, ESHB 1705, regarding ghost guns; secondly, ESHB 1630, establishing restrictions on the possession of weapons in certain locations; and third, ESSB 5078, limiting large capacity magazines.

The Alliance for Gun Responsibility notes, HB 1630 “restricts the manufacture, assembly, sale, transfer, purchase, possession, transport, and receipt of ghost guns—untraceable, unserialized firearms and unfinished receivers.” Ghost guns are not serialized, so it is difficult for law enforcement to track the origin of these guns.  HB 1705 “prohibits open carry at local government meetings and restricts firearms at school board meetings and election-related offices and facilities” Last year the legislature established similar limitations for the state Capitol. This extends these safeguards.

HB 5078 prohibits the manufacture and sale of high-capacity magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. It provides limited exemptions for the military and law enforcement agencies.

I noted during my testimony to the state legislature,

“This is a public health crisis; the easy access to magazines holding more than 10 rounds – puts our families and communities at great risk. 

These magazines were used in all 10 of the deadliest mass shootings since 2009.  High Capacity Magazines increase casualties by allowing a shooter to fire continuously without reloading,  In many tragic situations, including the 2014 shooting at Seattle Pacific University, lives have been saved during a pause to reload. When large capacity magazines are used, there are fewer pauses, and fewer chances for victims to escape.” 

The three bills have been delivered to the Governor; who must sign for the bills to become law.

 

Sound Transit Draft EIS Public Hearings and Open House

Next week Sound Transit will begin holding public hearings about the Draft EIS for the West Seattle and Ballard light rail project. Virtual public meetings will take place as follows, with the West Seattle focused meeting on Wednesday, March 30:

  • Tuesday, March 15, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. (Interbay/Ballard focused)
  • Tuesday, March 22, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. (Downtown focused)
  • Thursday, March 24, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. (CID/SODO focused)
  • Wednesday, March 30, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. (West Seattle focused)

In addition, they will hold an in-person open house on Thursday, March 17 from 12 – 6 p.m. in the International District Station plaza next to Union Station at the intersection of 5th Avenue S and S King Street.

More information on attending the public meetings is available on the online open house site at wsblink.participate.online. Sound Transit is seeking public comments on the Draft EIS through April 28. In addition to providing comments at the public meetings, comments may be sent via email to WSBLEDEIScomments@soundtransit.org or by voicemail at 800-471-0879.

On March 8 the West Seattle/Duwamish Community Advisory Group to Sound Transit met to hear a “deep dive” into detail about the Draft EIS from Sound Transit, as well as the City of Seattle Draft EIS Review.

Here’s a link to the meeting presentation; the City of Seattle portion of the presentation begins on slide 77, and lists “opportunities” and “concerns” about different options. Here’s a link to Sound Transit’s Visual Affects presentation, which shows several slides showing visual representations of the options.

After completion of the Draft EIS public comment period, the Sound Transit Board will select options to be analyzed in the Final EIS.

 

New Bus Stops for West Seattle Routes

Metro King County recently opened two new bus stops on Alaskan Way on the waterfront for routes that serve West Seattle, including bus routes 55, 56, 57, 113, 120, 121, 125 and the RapidRide C Line.

These stops provide better access to the stadiums and Pioneer Square.

The northbound bus stop is at South Jackson Street, and the southbound bus stop is at South King Street. Last month, Waterfront Seattle completed installing new roadway markings on the east side of Alaskan Way, allowing King County Metro buses to begin using the new northbound transit lane.

Bus shelters will be added this summer.

 

SPD Grant Legislation

This week, the Public Safety and Human Services Committee voted to approve legislation that I sponsored to accept two grants. The first is from the US Department of Justice to continue the work of the Northwest Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to address technology-facilitated child exploitation. The second is to continue the work of the Human Trafficking Task Force.

The legislation moves to the Full Council for a vote on Tuesday.

 

Apply for a Paid Summer Internship with Seattle Youth Employment Program

Applications are now open for a paid summer internship with Seattle’s Youth Employment Program.  Land a six-week paid internship that matches your skills, career interests, and availability, while receiving pre-employment training and work experience.

  • Get professional support from a trusted mentor throughout the program.
  • Gain practical experience to build your resume and potential connections to advance your career or education.
  • Be paid $17.27 per hour to intern with City departments and participating non-profit organizations.

To qualify, you must:

  • Be between the ages of 16 and 24 years old at the start of the program
  • Live within the Seattle city limits or attend a Seattle School (SPS or Seattle College)
  • Live in a household with income at or below 80% Area Median Income

Learn more and apply at www.seattle.gov/syep.  Applications are due by March 25th.

 

Annual Recycling Event

If you have hard to recycle items such as styrofoam, batteries, paper for shredding, or electronics, this annual event has you covered. Seattle Public Utilities partners with the West Seattle Chamber and the West Seattle Junction Association for this annual reuse & recycling event.

Please remember your masks and maintaining social distancing when dropping off materials is required at the event.

When: Saturday, March 19th, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Where: South Seattle Community College, Entrance #1, 6000 16th Ave SW

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

 

Human Services Department Reports on its Race & Social Justice Accomplishments

Every year, each City department identifies goals towards ending institutional racism within their department and achieving racial equity across our community.  This work is led by the Seattle Office for Civil Rights’ Race & Social Justice Initiative.

At my Public Safety & Human Services committee meeting this Tuesday, the Human Services Department (HSD) presented their 2021 race and social justice accomplishments and provided a look forward toward their 2022 goals.  Here’s a snapshot of some of HSD’s most impactful actions in 2021.

…and some goals for 2022:

You can review the presentation deck, and watch the presentation, starting at about the 1:40’ mark.

 

Virtual Office Hours

On Friday March 25, 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) to receive the call-in information and schedule a time.

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 29, 2022
  • Friday, May 27, 2022
  • Friday, June 24, 2022
  • Friday, July 29, 2022
  • Friday, August 19, 2022
  • Friday, September 30, 2022
  • Friday, October 28, 2022
  • Friday, December 16, 2022

 

Share


West Seattle Bridge/Concrete Mixer Driver Strike, Chelan 5-Way Intersection; Mask Requirements Changing; Free Covid Tests Available; Mental Health Resources; Sound Transit West Seattle/Duwamish Community Advisory Group meeting; CPC/Police Monitor Outreach Meeting on Use of Force; Public Safety and Human Services Committee Workplan; Seattle Redistricting Commission

March 4th, 2022

West Seattle Bridge / Concrete Mixer Driver Strike, Chelan 5-Way Intersection

As the concrete driver strike remains unresolved, many of you have written in response to my articles about this, with different ideas of how the City might find creative ways to address the strike so we do not impact the goal for the West Seattle Bridge to open in the summer. Thank you for sending your suggestions; opening the bridge as soon as possible remains a very high priority.

Specialized concrete is needed inside the bridge for guiding and anchoring the blocks for post-tensioning steel cables that compress the concrete in the bridge structure to prevent cracking.

SDOT noted regarding potential alternatives sources of concrete:

“We have considered finding alternative sources of concrete, however, concrete drivers from other counties are honoring the local strike and are unavailable. Due to the nature of concrete, it is meant to be mixed locally and it can only be transported in a truck for about 90 minutes before it starts to lose strength. Concrete isn’t available within a few hours’ travel time from the bridge construction site. Additionally, mixing small batches of concrete onsite won’t meet the high standards for the repair design since specialized concrete is needed.”  

As a result of the strike King County has seen some third-party operators that are not as well-trained. Some have suggested their projects may have concrete failure risks. Additionally, we are seeing “ghost trucks” operate in the County. Concrete companies operate under federal rules which require them to be registered with the Federal government and to display their US Department of Transportation numbers as well as the operating company. The numbers and operating company logo serve as an identifier for compliance reviews, crash investigations, and monitoring safety. These “ghost trucks” often don’t have the USDOT number or a company logo.

Furthermore, as reported by the Urbanist, “Concrete mixer driver is a highly-skilled job that requires not just driving the truck, but also carefully managing and calibrating the mixer during the process so the concrete arrives at the site ready to pour in accordance with the exact specifications of the particular project, as noted in a KUOW’s in-depth report on the strike. This is not a throwaway position in the construction ecosystem easily filled by strikebreakers. Nonetheless, concrete companies appear largely unwilling to meet their demands.”

As we’ve learned from the closure of the bridge nearly two years ago, quality of design and construction cannot be compromised.

The 330 Teamster workers at Gary Merlino Construction Company, Cadman, CalPortland, Stoneway Concrete, Lehigh Cement Company and Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel argue that “the concrete companies have long engaged in cartel-like behavior, using their monopolistic grip on the Seattle-area concrete market to set prices and pass through any cost increases directly to customers.”

I have made an inquiry with the City’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services (a CIty department that manages many city contracts) regarding the procedures used for to debarment of contractors,  The City Council in 2005 adopted legislation to establish procedures for this, with a new section 20.70 to the Seattle Municipal Code. One of the grounds for disbarment includes “The Contractor has colluded with another contractor to restrain competition.”

Chelan 5-way Intersection Changes

SDOT will be closing the northbound lane at the Chelan 5-way intersection for people turning into Terminals 5 and 7. Construction to implement this change is scheduled for this weekend, weather permitting.  This change is being made to help the West Seattle Bridge detour route run more smoothly. SDOT’s update notes:

These changes will mostly impact freight trucks and employees traveling to Terminal 5 and 7. We will be prohibiting the following movements:

  • Eastbound left turns from Chelan Ave SW
  • Northbound straight-through from Delridge Way SW
  • Northbound straight through from SW Spokane St (from the low bridge)
  • Westbound right turn from West Marginal Way SW

Why are we making these changes?

We are making these changes to help the West Seattle Bridge detour route run more efficiently. Drivers traveling northbound on Delridge Way SW and wanting to turn right to West Marginal Way SW, at the 5-way intersection have been delayed by train activity.  In addition, westbound travelers on West Marginal Way SW have also experienced delays, which together, is causing additional backups and traffic congestion at the intersection for people driving and people biking along the West Seattle Bridge detour route. These blockages have become more frequent and have ranged from just a minute or two, up to 90 minutes. Since this route is a vital pathway for people traveling into and out of West Seattle during the bridge closure, it is important that we keep traffic moving efficiently and safely for everyone using the roadways.

What other ways can freight and employees get to Terminal 5 and 7?

Freight and employees will be rerouted to an alternate route using the Terminal 5 access bridge. This bridge has a designated right-turn lane to Terminal 7 for people driving to that terminal. To access the Terminal 5 bridge, turn onto SW Spokane St and turn left, just before the entrance to the Spokane Street Swing Bridge. The Terminal 5 access bridge travels over the Chelan 5-way intersection and directly to the terminals.


Mask Requirements Changing

I’m sure many of you know that Governor Inslee announced significant changes in mask requirements starting March 12th, and King County is following suit.  This is based on updated guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control, which emphasizes preserving hospital capacity.

One important caveat: Seattle Public Schools are requiring masks until further notice.  Read SPS’s statement on masks here: Mask Mandate Remains in Place for Now – Seattle Public Schools (seattleschools.org).  Seattle Public Schools operate independently of the City of Seattle; Seattle City Council does not have oversight of their work.

You should also continue to wear a mask for 10 days after testing positive or being exposed to Covid-19, and anywhere that you are asked or required to mask up.  Please, always respect the rules of the room. 

 

Free Covid Tests Available


Do you need at home COVID-19 tests for you or your family?  Washington now provides up to 2 orders per households every month at http://SayYesCovidHomeTest.org, while supplies last. Each order contains 5 tests. That’s 10 tests every month for people in Washington! If you already ordered, you can order again.

¿Ocupa una prueba de COVID-19 en hogar para usted o su familia? El Say YES! Portal de prueba (SYCT) ahora permite hasta dos pruebas por hogar cada mes, mientras subministro alcancen. http://SayYesCovidHomeTest.org/casa

 

Statement for Mayor’s Press Event With Law Enforcement Leaders

Today Mayor Harrell convened a press conference with local law enforcement leaders to address coordinated efforts at 12th Avenue South and Jackson Street in Little Saigon, and 3rd and Pine Downtown. My quote in the press release is below:

“The increase in gun violence and violent crime requires a multifaceted strategy and cross-jurisdictional cooperation. I understand that SPD’s plan, in addition to traditional public safety approaches, includes partnership with organizations that prevent retaliatory violence, provide restorative justice, and divert survival-level offenders away from the revolving door criminal legal system and into the healthcare, housing, and support they need,” said Councilmember and Public Safety & Human Services Committee Chair Lisa Herbold. “With King County’s mask mandate lifting, these efforts are critical, as more businesses choose whether and how to bring more employees back to work. In addressing safety for businesses, we must also remember the residents of our downtown neighborhoods and keep the community safety focus after work hours too.”

 

Mental Health Resources

It’s been a long two years of living with the pandemic. The stress, isolation, and anxiety has taken its toll on all of us.  If you find yourself in need of support – or know someone who does – please check out A Mindful State, a free resource for Washington residents.

A Mindful State is a community-built project bringing people together from across Washington to talk about our mental health, to listen to each other, learn from one another, and to support each other.  You can find personal stories, expert advice, and mental health resources created or vetted by a panel of experts in mental and behavioral health.

While the County and State have primary responsibility for funding behavioral health services, I’ve been speaking up and advocating for increased access to mental healthcare by securing $500,000 in City funding for behavioral healthcare for students and $500,000 for behavioral health services through the Community Health Partnerships program to pregnant and parenting mothers, vulnerable uninsured populations, and seniors.  I have also been calling on the County and State to increase services for all residents.

I hope everyone who is struggling will reach out for help when you need it.

 

Sound Transit West Seattle/Duwamish Community Advisory Group Meeting

Sound Transit’s West Seattle/Duwamish Community Advisory Group will hold its fourth meeting on March 8 from 5-7 p.m. The meeting will consider the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

You’ll be able to find the agenda on the “Advisory Groups” tab on Sound Transit’s West Seattle and Ballard light rail website.

Here’s where you can view the meeting.

You can view the previous February meeting here.

 

CPC/Police Monitor Outreach Meeting on Use of Force

The Consent Decree Monitor and the Community Police Commission will be holding the third in a series of community engagement meetings on Tuesday, March 8 at 6 p.m. The focus of this meeting will be Use of Force.

The Monitor’s website notes:

“The Monitoring Team’s assessment will update the public on statistics related to SPD’s use of force practices, both overall and specifically related to protests in 2020. The report will discuss SPD’s use of force review and investigation systems and statistics on misconduct allegations related to use of force.”

The Monitor will be publishing a Preliminary Assessment of Use of Force, which will be available at the Monitor’s site.

You can access the agenda and login information at the CPC agenda page.

 

Public Safety and Human Services Committee Workplan

On Tuesday, the Full Council voted to adopt our committee workplans.

These workplans help identify our work products, division of labor, and can be used to hold ourselves accountable for the work we promise to undertake.  The Committee workplan is not intended to capture all the priorities I have for the year, only those that will go through my specific committee because they are the responsibility of either the Seattle Police Department, the Seattle Fire Department, the Human Services Department, the Office of Emergency Management, the Seattle Municipal Court, or the Law Department, the Office of Professional Accountability, the Office of the Inspector General, and the Community Police Commission.

You can see the resolution here and adopted workplans here.

 

Seattle Redistricting Commission

As with the state, the City of Seattle must undertake a redistricting process after the census. The Seattle Redistricting Commission is comprised of five members, two are appointed by the mayor, two by the Council, and the final member is appointed by the initial four members of the Commission. Here’s a link to the commissioner “who we are” page.

The Commission has released four draft maps and is taking feedback on those drafts now. There will be several opportunities for comment, with one on March 8th at a meeting of the Commission.  You can click here to sign up to participate in the Zoom meeting. Additionally, you can submit public comment online here through the Commission’s survey.

The final redistricting plans must be sent to King County for final submission no later than November 15, 2022.

Share


West Seattle Bridge/Reconnect West Seattle; Retail Theft Program Committee Presentation, Audit; Fauntleroy Terminal Replacement Project Community Advisory Group Meetings: March 2 and 16; Legislation Authorizing Retroactive Hiring Incentive Bonuses; Free Tax Help Available; Eviction Moratorium Ends; Volunteer for the Victim Support Team

February 25th, 2022

West Seattle Bridge/Reconnect West Seattle

Yesterday a federal mediator met with Teamsters 174 and employer representatives; here is the update Teamsters Local 174 posted after the meeting.

I sincerely appreciate the willingness of Teamsters 174 to make a new proposal to go back to work immediately with only a one-year deal that includes less than what they have been seeking, while continuing long-term negotiations.

Here is an update showing the status of repair work on the bridge.

SDOT will be drilling holes in different parts of the interior of the bridge to prepare for post-tension cables as soon as the concrete is available. Epoxy crack injections are being applied to the exterior of the bridge.

Spokane Street (low) Bridge updates

Here’s the schedule for maintenance for the Spokane Street (low) bridge. The contract for repairs to the West Seattle Bridge included work on the low bridge as well:

Traffic on the low bridge has recently increased:

Here’s a chart that shows when bridge openings took place from February 14 through the 18th, and how long the closings lasted. On February 16, there were two closures during the 11 a.m. hour:

Reconnect West Seattle

SDOT has published a Q4 2021 implementation report for the Reconnect West Seattle program designed to ameliorate the closure of the West Seattle Bridge.

It includes project lists that are ongoing and includes updates on projects from 2020, 2021 and 2022 projects, including by neighborhood, and for freight and bike projects.

Most 2021 projects completed; here are Some of the 2021 projects that are under construction or design as shown below:

2022 projects are being constructed, designed, and planned as follows:


Retail Theft Program Committee Presentation, Audit

Organized retail theft is increasingly a problem for retail businesses in Seattle. While much media coverage has focused on Downtown, it has affected businesses throughout the city, including in District 1.

Organized Retail Theft is different from run of the mill shoplifting.   Organized retail crime involves organized efforts to steal and resell high-value items, sometimes through online marketplaces. During the pandemic, the characteristics of retail crime have shifted, and there is emerging evidence that ORC has increased during the pandemic due, in part, to increased use of online marketplaces for selling stolen goods.

Earlier this week, I invited the Seattle Police Department to present to the Public Safety and Human Services Committee about the SPD’s Retail Theft program. Here’s their presentation.

The program allows security officers working for a participating store to file misdemeanor trespass and theft cases without patrol officer involvement; the program was initiated in 1989 to reduce the amount of SPD officer time spent processing misdemeanor shoplift offenses. They can use SPD’s online reporting system to write reports and provide evidence.   In 2013, the trespass element of the program was revamped with the help of the Racial Disparity Project.

63 store chains are signed up for the program, and 158 loss prevention officers have written at least one report during the last two months.

Assistant Chief Mahaffey noted reduced usage of the program recently, due to a trend throughout retail establishments to direct their security staff to be “hands-off, to not physically contact people regarding a shoplifting offense anymore.”  This is reportedly out of safety concerns for employees and liability concerns.  Others have noted that they aren’t reporting because of their awareness of the reduced jail capacity due to the COVID pandemic, and the Omricon variant.  I would suggest that the knowledge that a particular offender may not face jail time is not a good reason to not report a crime.

In investigating crimes of this nature – where there are a few dozen people who are committing thousands of thefts – the goal is less about prosecuting any single crime or complaint, but about identifying patterns and trends of specifically people who are engaged in organized theft.  And more reporting can help identify these patterns and trends.  There is a joint effort that the City Attorney’s Office bundle cases for the King County Prosecutor’s Office so they can more effectively prosecute organized criminal retail thefts.

I know that not every business can afford private security, but it seems to me that a. if more businesses that do have onsite security participated in the Retail Theft Program, and b. those who don’t sign up for the Retail Theft Program were more active reporting crimes at least online, that this might help efforts, both for SPD investigating and the CAO/KCPAO prosecuting.

My goal is to: 1. See if there are changes to the City’s Retail Theft Program that could result in more participation and 2. Encourage more use of online reporting for victims of retail crime theft who aren’t signed for the Retail Theft Program.  I know that online reporting is limited because of language barriers.  SPD has promised to update the online reporting option with additional language capability.

In addition, at the meeting Councilmember Lewis and I announced an audit to addressed organized retail crime that the City Auditor will be working on. The audit will examine:

  • the current state of organized retail crime in Seattle;
  • emerging practices from other jurisdictions; and,
  • potential opportunities for the City to better address organized retail crime.

Some people following the committee discussion or learning about the effort in the news wrote to tell me that they believe that this audit is a waste of time and resources. It’s important to note that several national retail organizations agree that organized retail crime is more effectively dealt with away from the stores, or the location where the theft occurs and at the level of the people reselling the stolen goods.  For instance, thieves can anonymously sell goods online. Online marketplaces should have to verify the identity of sellers who make large numbers of sales. Illinois and California have both recently created state-wide task forces of law enforcement, prosecutors, retailers, and on-line marketplaces to address organized retail crime.

The City Auditor will also engage with local businesses in order to directly learn from their experiences. A briefing on the audit is planned for the Public Safety and Human Services Committee in advance of consideration of the 2023 City Budget.

Fauntleroy Terminal Replacement Project Community Advisory Group Meetings: March 2 and 16

Washington State Ferries will be holding two Community Advisory Group (CAG) meetings in March for the Fauntleroy Terminal replacement project. WSDOT’s 2040 Long Range Plan includes replacement of this ferry terminal. WSDOT notes the terminal is seismically vulnerable and overdue for replacement and vulnerable to sea levels rising.

You can register for the meetings by clicking on the “Community Engagement” tab for the project website. The CAG includes 24 members from the triangle ferry route, including West Seattle, Vashon and Southworth and other communities on the peninsula.

This meeting will focus on developing:

  • Draft range of alternatives to include in planning study, and
  • Draft screening criteria to evaluate potential alternatives

This begins an important step in this process.

I am serving on the Executive Advisory Group, which consists of elected officials representing West Seattle, Vashon, and Southworth, the Chairman of the Suquamish Tribe, as well as SDOT, KC Metro, WSDOT and Kitsap Transit.

I want to be sure the community perspective is represented and given serious consideration. If you have suggestions for what alternatives should be studied, or criteria used for evaluation, please let me know.

The presence of the terminal has a significant impact on the Fauntleroy community; I’ve heard support for limiting changes to the current footprint. Ferries has indicated they can include an option that minimizes changes.

Here’s a schedule for community engagement from last year that shows how the process will be working moving forward, and where alternatives development and screening criteria fit (the impact of the COVID pandemic has slowed the timetable a bit). We are in the “early scoping” stage; the Preliminary purpose and need statement” was the subject of the previous meeting.


Legislation Authorizing Retroactive Hiring Incentive Bonuses

On Tuesday, the City Council will consider legislation to provide retroactive approval to pay bonuses for police officers and 911 dispatchers who were hired in January 2022. The bill, CB 120272, would provide up to $220,000 in funding for this purpose.

This legislation derives from bonuses that were offered in January, when they were neither authorized nor funded.

Last October the former Mayor issued an order to provide for hiring bonuses for officers and dispatchers. The Council voted to modify the emergency order to limit the bonus program to the end of 2021. No funding was included in the 2022 budget. While there were a few proposals to provide funding, including one I co-sponsored, they didn’t pass during the budget process. The Council adopted a request for a report on March 1 on a potential city-wide bonus program and voted to end the order at the end of 2021; the incoming Mayor could issue a similar order.

However, on December 30th the former Mayor sent to the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and to the City of Seattle Communications Center (CSCC) a directive to continue hiring bonuses, contravening the Council action. Consequently, they continued to offer bonuses during January.

In early February the Harrell administration directed the departments to immediately cease offering the bonuses. We committed to work together to ensure the officers and dispatchers offered a bonus are provided with it.

The bonuses will be for 14 CSCC dispatchers and 5 SPD officers.

The directive from the former Mayor claims the Council’s action to limit the executive order wasn’t effective. This is inaccurate. She claimed that she had legal counsel to confirm her position and the City Attorney has assured us that they provided no such advice.

Section 10.02 of the Seattle Municipal Code governs civil emergencies, including the authority of the Mayor to issue proclamations of civil emergency. SMC 10.02.020 (B) grants the City Council the power to modify or reject the order.

It states “The Council shall endeavor to act on any order within 48 hours of its being presented to the Council by the Mayor” but does not require action within 48 hours.

I’m very grateful that the Harrell administration is taking a collaborative approach to governing, recognizing the Council’s authority, as we work to resolve this issue together.

Free Tax Help Available

Your federal taxes are due on April 18th, and the Seattle Public Library and United Way of King County are collaborating to offer free tax preparation service through April 18.  Anyone who made less than $70,000 in 2021 is eligible.

Here in District 1, free tax help is available at the West Seattle Food Bank (6516 35th Avenue SW):

  • Weds: 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
  • Thurs: 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
  • Sat: 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM

You can also try the Central Library in downtown Seattle.

  • Mon – Tues: 12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Wed – Thurs: 12:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Fri: none
  • Sat: 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Sun: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Come prepared!  Be sure to bring all the documents you’ll need to your appointment.

Required:

  • Both spouses, if filing jointly
  • Picture ID for taxpayer (and spouse, if filing jointly)
  • Social Security card (or acceptable alternative – see below) for each person listed on the return
  • Proof of income, like W2s and 1099s
  • Documentation of expenses
  • If anyone in the household is insured through the Marketplace, Form 1095-A and dependents’ proof of income

Recommended:

  • Account and routing numbers for direct deposit of refunds
  • Prior year tax return

Acceptable Alternatives for Social Security Card:

  • Photocopy or photograph of Social Security card
  • ITIN letter
  • Social Security Benefit Statement (Form 1099-SSA)
  • Military ID with Social Security number
  • Any document issued by the Social Security Administration with Social Security number – last four digits must be visible
  • A printout from mySocialSecurity with the last four digits of your Social Security number visible
  • Please note: Per IRS regulations, a return cannot be prepared without the required documents. Prior year tax returns do NOT satisfy document requirements.

Trained volunteers will answer questions and help prepare personal (not business) tax returns. Drop-in assistance will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Check out other options for free in person or online tax assistance at this listing:  Tax Help | The Seattle Public Library (spl.org).

Eviction Moratorium Ends

On February 11, Mayor Harrell announced, through an executive order, the end of the eviction moratorium. On Tuesday, the Council took up that executive order and Councilmember Sawant brought forward an amendment that would leave the eviction moratorium in place until the end of the declared emergency, which is a date unknown.

We heard a lot of passionate public testimony from landlords, tenants, and their advocates.

I don’t dispute the fact that small landlords have lost funds, have decided to stop operating rental housing, or have suffered other real harms associated with the eviction moratorium. Often the work that policymakers do is about addressing greater harms over lesser harms. This is one of those times.

I supported extending the eviction moratorium and proposed an amendment to do so until April 30. By doing so we would have allowed more time for the County to distribute rental assistance dollars that have been slow to get out the door to tenants and landlords.

My amendment to extend the moratorium until April 30 did not pass. And while I voted in favor of Councilmember Sawant’s amendment to extend the moratorium, that failed too.  The eviction moratorium will end on February 28.

We have three other protections for tenants who have fallen behind on rent during the pandemic. Two of them extend for the length of the Civil Emergency:

  • CB 120077 provides a defense to eviction for failing to pay rent due during the City’s COVID-19 civil emergency if the tenant has suffered a financial hardship.
  • CB 119788 provides a defense to eviction if the landlord does not offer the tenant a repayment plan.
  • CB 119784 provides a defense for six months after the moratorium for any tenant that declares that they suffered a financial hardship.

If you or someone you know is facing an eviction, this website includes a list of available resources. For other renter protections and resources please go here.

Volunteer for the Victim Support Team

Seattle’s Human Services Department is looking for community volunteers to join the Victim Support Team and become trained support advocates for victims of domestic violence and other crimes.  Applications are due 3/17.  Learn more here and apply here.

The Victim Support Team provides short-term advocacy and resources to victims of violent crimes. Volunteers listen to survivors, help them identify what next step they want to take, address immediate safety concerns, and offer connections to resources in the community and within the criminal legal system.

Share


West Seattle Bridge/Reconnect West Seattle Update; Sound Transit Light Rail Presentation in Transportation; SPU Committee; Bike Helmets; Covid Updates: Masks and Vaccine Verification Changes; New Ticket Debt Reduction Calendar; URM Proclamation; Mayor’s State of the City; Neighborhood Matching Fund

February 18th, 2022

West Seattle Bridge/Reconnect West Seattle Update

Work on the West Seattle Bridge repair is continuing.  We are approaching the date of February 20th by which time, in order to keep the project on schedule to complete work by the end of June 2022, concrete will be needed to continue work on post-tensioning inside the bridge. Work on exterior carbon-fiber wrap and epoxy injections can continue.

As I noted in last week’s release, “We are just 245 yards – fewer than 30 truckloads – from the finish line. I call on concrete suppliers to reach agreement with Teamsters Local 174 as soon as possible to ensure completion of the West Seattle Bridge repair is as scheduled.”

Here are some additional updates related to the West Seattle Bridge and the Reconnect West Seattle program.

First, WSDOT is planning to do repairs in the Spring to repair a hole in the eastbound access ramp for northbound SR99 before the bridge re-opens. This will require concrete, which will take a couple of weeks to settle:

Reconnect West Seattle

53 of 70 total Reconnect West Seattle projects were completed during 2021. The Home Zones for Highland Park, South Park and Georgetown each only count as one project in the overall tally, but include a total of 64 separate projects, of which 39 were completed during 2021:

Reconnect West Seattle projects planned for 2022 include adding a low-cost asphalt walkway along Sylvan Way SW from High Point Drive SW to SW Sylvan Heights Drive and adding a flashing beacon on at 17th Ave SW and SW Henderson; some detour and bridge-specific signage projects will likely be removed after the bridge re-opens:

Six speed cushions are anticipated to be installed in the Fauntleroy neighborhood in March:

  • One SW 106th St between 35th and 41st Ave SW
  • Three on 45th Ave SW between SW Trenton St and SW Director St
  • Two on Marine View Dr between 44th Ave SW and SW 106th St

Two additional speed cushions are planned for:

  • 18th Ave SW between SW Myrtle St and SW Graham St
  • SW Cloverdale St between 11th Ave SW and 12th Ave SW

In addition, Reconnect West Seattle paving work is taking place as part of SDOT’s pothole emphasis repair work. Five projects are listed below, with tentative construction dates (weather permitting):

  1. Marine View Drive SW between SW 104th St and SW 106th St; expected completion in Q1.
  2. 16th Ave SW between SW Barton St and SW Cambridge St; completion expected today (February 18)
  3. 35th Ave SW between SW Trenton St and SW Cloverdale St – Late February/Early March
  4. 35th Ave SW between SW Thistle St and SW Kenyon St – Late February/Early March
  5. 35th Ave SW between SW Othello St and SW Myrtle St- – Late February/Early March

There is more paving (not Reconnect West Seattle-funded) at SW Spokane St (westbound direction) in the vicinity of 26th Ave SW planned for completion this week.

SDOT also recently completed three other paving projects in West Seattle, in a partnership between the West Seattle Bridge Program and Annual Major Maintenance (AMM), the pavement preservation program:

  1. SW 106th St between 32nd Ave SW and SW Seola Beach Drive
  2. SW 106th St between 39th Ave SW and 42nd Ave SW
  3. West Marginal Way SW, between 2nd Ave SW and Highland Park Way SW (phase 1 of 2, phase 2 planned for Q2)

Last week SDOT presented an evaluation of improvements completed in September at the intersection of West Marginal Way SW and Highland Park Way SW:

Travel times improved an average of 11-31%:


Sound Transit Light Rail Presentation in Transportation& SPU Committee

On Tuesday the Transporation and SPU Committee heard a first presentation from Sound Transit on the Draft EIS for the West Seattle Ballard light rail extension. Here’s a link to Sound Transit’s presentation.

The presentation showed potential Duwamish crossings:

Here is a chart showing cost ranges, and some of the potential impacts:

The West Seattle segments are combined as the Preferred Alternatives identified by the Sound Transit Board (in pink); Preferred Alternatives with Third-party funding (in brown); and other alternatives, in blue:

Below is a comparison of cost and impacts for these combinations; some of the separate Delridge/Avalon and Alaskan Junction segments can be combined, so these are not the only potential combinations. All of the Duwamish crossings are compatible with the various Delridge options.

At the meeting I raised the question of the sufficiency of visual representations, an issue about which constituents have contacted me. Sound Transit staff answered that they will be presenting additional information at the next meeting of the West Seattle/Duwamish Community Advisory Group, which will meet on March 8 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Sound Transit’s presentation also includes sections on Downtown, South Interbay, Interbay/Ballard, Chinatown/ID, and SODO.

Bike Helmets

Bike helmets save lives and prevent injuries.  That has been proven time and again.  Check out this list of where to find free and low-cost helmets in King County.  I urge everyone who bikes to wear a helmet, every time.

On Thursday, I joined my King County Board of Health colleagues to pass a resolution in support of using bike helmets, and to repeal the County-wide helmet mandate.  You can read more about these votes here: With a Commitment to Equity: Board of Health Updates King County’s Bike Helmet Policy – PUBLIC HEALTH INSIDER

This action was deeply considered; the Board of Health first began discussing repealing the mandate in January of 2021, based on an analysis of Seattle Police Department data that showed racist and discriminatory enforcement of the helmet law, impacting BIPOC communities and people experiencing homelessness.

Meanwhile, national studies, and local ones, suggest that the presence or absence of helmet mandates today has little to no association with overall rates of head injuries.  Portland, Oregon has similar helmet rate use to Seattle, for instance, without an all-ages mandate.

For me, the question isn’t whether helmets save lives and prevent serious injuries.  We know they do.  The question is the best way to increase helmet use, while doing the least harm.  We have significant data showing us that Seattle’s BIPOC communities and people experiencing homelessness are suffering from disproportionate policing of helmet use.  And we know that norms around helmet use have changed significantly; most cyclists use helmets now.

Without clear and persuasive evidence that helmet laws increase safety, I must weigh more heavily the proven harm to overpoliced Black and brown communities and young people, and those experiencing homelessness, that we know is occurring daily, because of the helmet mandate.

Repealing the helmet mandate, while also investing in distributing helmets and educating folks about bike safety, is the best path forward.  King County has already invested $221,000 to support bicycle helmet distribution.  I sponsored a successful amendment that asked King County to also invest in a helmet safety awareness campaign.  Chair McDermott’s amendment to require a racial equity impact report on the repeal was also successful.  You can read more here.


Covid Updates: Masks and Vaccine Verification Changes

You’ve probably heard that changes are coming to our pandemic precautions.  Here’s a rundown of what’s changing…

Mask Requirements:  While Governor Inslee announced significant changes to State-mandated mask requirements starting on March 21, King County’s own mask mandate remains in effect.  It requires everyone 5-years of age and older in King County to wear a face covering within indoor public spaces, including exercise facilities, auditoriums, stadiums, retail, grocery stores, government buildings, and other businesses and places where members of the public can enter freely.  It also requires masks at any outdoor event with 500 or more people in attendance.

Vaccine Verification Ends March 1: King County officials announced that starting March 1, businesses such as restaurants, gyms, bars and theaters would no longer have to check the vaccination status of patrons.  Businesses may still choose to require and verify vaccination at their door; patrons must follow their guidelines. For more business resources about this policy change, please visit the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce’s website: kcvaxverified.com

Get Vaxxed:  The City-run vaccination site at Neighborhood House (6400 Sylvan Way SW Seattle, WA 98126) is closing on February 26th.  So now’s the right time to get vaxxed, if you haven’t yet.  The West Seattle clinic is open Fridays from 4:30-7:30pm, and Saturdays from 8:30am-4:30pm.  Appointments are not required.  Free rides and free childcare are available – and your vaccination is always free.

In Seattle, over 90% of residents ages five and older have received at least one vaccine dose through their healthcare provider, government and community partners, or a City of Seattle clinic.  Join us!  Learn more and register here.

New Ticket Debt Reduction Calendar

On February 3, Seattle Municipal Court launched a new Ticket Debt Reduction calendar for low-income individuals experiencing the consequences of unpaid ticket debt from overdue Seattle parking, traffic, or camera tickets.

  • No proof of income is required.
  • Hearings are held by telephone every Thursday from 11 AM-1 PM. Participants sign up in advance, either online or over the phone.
  • During the hearing, individuals speak to a magistrate about their situation and request a reduction in their total ticket debt and removal of their tickets from collections.
  • As part of the planning for this project, the court held conversations with members from the Washington State Relicensing Taskforce, the Interfaith Taskforce on Homelessness, Public Health—Seattle & King County, and the Seattle City Attorney’s Office.
  • This is a pilot program, and the court will continue to evolve its processes to be centered around the customers they serve. The court will evaluate the success of the pilot and identify potential modifications to better meet customers’ needs.

To refer clients or learn more, visit: seattle.gov/courts/debtreduction

URM Proclamation

An annual tradition, on Valentine’s Day, the National Trust for Historic Preservation spreads love for historic places through their heart bomb campaign. Heart bombing is the act of showering an older or historic place with tangible expressions of affection and devotion.

The proclamation recognizes that “Significant cultural and architectural Unreinforced Masonry (URM) buildings are some of Seattle’s most beloved community gathering places, the sweethearts, and icons of many neighborhoods.” On this Valentine’s Day, the Seattle City Council pledged its “adoration for our architectural and cultural past while reimagining the future with safe, seismically upgraded masonry buildings.”

Here are Historic Seattle’s favorite URMs in District 1:

The Campell building in the Junction and pictured below is a URM, you can see a list of other key historic URMs by neighborhood here.   And if you want to find out which ones have been retrofitted already and which ones have not been retrofitted, you can check here:  Untitled map (arcgis.com)

I want to thank URM stakeholders Historic Seattle, and Alliance for Safety, Affordability, and Preservation (ASAP) for bringing forward this proclamation and for their excellent presentation they gave to the Council. To read more about this year’s heart bomb campaign please check out Historic Seattle’s website here.

Mayor’s State of the City

In case you missed it ,Mayor Harrell gave his state of the City address earlier this week; here’s a link to the text of his first state of the city speech.

Neighborhood Matching Fund

The Neighborhood Matching Fund program will be holding virtual informational workshops on February 24th and March 9th to assist community organizations and neighborhood groups interested in getting funding for their idea

Applications for the Community Partnership Fund, with awards up to $50,000, is open through March 28th.

Information on the program and how to join the meetings is available at the Neighborhood Matching Fund webpage.

Share


© 1995-2018 City of Seattle