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.

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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

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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West Seattle Bridge Timeline and Concrete; Nurse Navigation Program; Pre-Basic Law Enforcement Training Program; SPD 2021 Year-End Crime Report; Update on PayUp Campaign; Celebrating Black History; Virtual Office Hours

February 12th, 2022

West Seattle Bridge Timeline and Concrete

I have been concerned that the failure of concrete companies to fairly address the workers’ rights issues of Teamsters, Local 174, 300 striking concrete mixer drivers and concrete plant workers, and resolve the strike could eventually impact the timeline for re-opening the West Seattle Bridge.  The strike to demand that employers stop violating federal labor laws and offer fair wage, healthcare and retirement benefits has been going since December 3.

This week we received confirmation of this impending possible impact, specifically, the distressing news that if concrete is not available by February 20th, there will be a delay to the schedule for repairs to the West Seattle Bridge.

At this week’s West Seattle Bridge Community task force meeting I offered the following remarks:

The West Seattle Bridge is a critical lifeline not just for West Seattle residents and businesses, but for the entire region. Completing bridge repairs by mid-2022 as scheduled is our paramount responsibility.

 I don’t need to tell you how this closure has affected all of us, our access to the rest of the city, businesses cut off from customers and their workers, and traffic detours through communities on the southern portion of the peninsula, becoming more and more unbearable.

We know how, with the number of trucks using the lower-level bridge, when Terminal 5 re-opened last month, the urgency of moving other vehicle traffic back on to the West Seattle Bridge is even more urgent.

This bridge isn’t a new project.  It’s not something we’re expanding; it’s not part of a long-range plan. It’s been in use for about 40 years that must be fixed.  Our current transportation system is built around it. We, as a Community Task Force need to consider how we will work together to ensure that the City, transit agencies, state, and the private sector support the West Seattle Bridge being first in line for concrete when the strike ends.  It’s the biggest emergency project happening in the Pacific Northwest.

We are just 245 cubic yards – fewer than 30 truckloads – from the finish line. The amount of concrete needed for this project is much lower than for other major projects.

Thank you to Mayor Harrell for emphasizing the importance of opening the bridge as quickly as possible. Many thanks as well to County Executive Constantine and his Chief of Staff Shannon Braddock in working to help resolve the strike and we want to see this bridge repaired as soon as possible. Myself, my staff, and potentially my colleagues on the City Council are available to help advocate for prioritizing the West Seattle Bridge and are also here to share stories and impacts from my constituents to help you keep the concrete flowing.

Here is my statement in a press release developed by Mayor Harrell.

Here’s the most recent update on construction progress:

Here is the project schedule, which shows continuing post-tensioning work; specialized concrete is needed for this.

Here’s an image of where the concrete is needed inside the bridge for guiding and anchoring the blocks for the post-tensioning steel cables, that compress the concrete in the bridge structure to prevent cracking:


Nurse Navigation Program

On Tuesday, Mayor Harrell announced the launch of the consulting Nurse Navigation Program. I applaud Mayor Harrell for acting quickly on this Council budget action and the leadership of Chief Scoggins in implementing.

Consulting nurses are an incredible resource.  They answer the phone at all hours of the day to provide needed advice to first responders. The Seattle Fire Department has partnered with AMR to staff this program which will divert 8,000 to 10,000 low acuity calls annually.  This will help preserve our first responder resources to focus on addressing the 911 calls that only they can address.

Seattle joins five other states and Washington DC in integrating a consulting nurse navigation program.

Pre-Basic Law Enforcement Training Program

When Seattle hires new police officers, they go through a 720-hour “Basic Law Enforcement Academy Training.” This training is at the state academy run by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission.  This training is standardized for recruits to departments all over the state.  There’s no training element specifically focused on building knowledge of the local Seattle community and what it means to work for the Seattle Police Department.

To address this gap in training and to work towards ensuring recruits that intend to work for SPD have the values and knowledge critical to working in Seattle, Chief Diaz has launched a new program to complement this training called the pre- Basic Law Enforcement Academy (BLEA) training program.

The first class, set to begin in May, will be for 30 days.  The focus of the program is 1) Community centered dialogue and learning 2) Wellness and professional development, and 3) Public Safety “360”. This training occurs before the state training, when newly hired officers generally have to wait before entering the state academy.

The purpose is to connect officers with the community, by taking them out of the classroom and into Seattle neighborhoods. They will be paired with Community Service Officers or members of the Collaborative Policing Bureau and gain experience in the community, as well as learning about brain development and the impact of childhood trauma, poverty, and addiction.

In addition, there is a focus on officer wellness, and the mental and physical well-being of officers, who are themselves exposed to trauma. In addition, it will include a focus on how the overall public safety system works in Seattle, and an understanding of the role we expect officers to play in a holistic model of public safety in Seattle.

I sponsored funding to begin development of this program in the 2021 supplemental budget, and $200,000 in additional funding for 2022.

I thank the Chief for his work on this innovative program.  While hiring officers, let’s make sure these candidates are the recruits we want for Seattle.

SPD 2021 Year-End Crime Report

Last week I noted the Seattle Police Department released its 2021 Year-End Crime Report, which shows an increase in crime during 2021 compared to 2020.  The report also compares 9-1-1 response times in 2021 as compared to other years.  Among the top Community-generated dispatched locations, Westwood Village has generated 473 calls in 2021, the 4th highest number of calls in the City.

I’ve invited SPD to present this report in the Public Safety and Human Services committee on February 22.  We will, in that meeting, also be hearing the year-end 2021 SPD staffing update.  In the full year of 2021, the department had a total of 81 new hires versus 170 separations for a net -89 officers.  The SPD hiring goal for 2022 is 125 officers, more hires that SPD has ever done in a single year.

Update on PayUp Campaign

On Tuesday, the PSHS committee heard an update from Council Central Staff on the development of the PayUp policy that Councilmember Lewis and I are cosponsoring.

I previously wrote updates about this policy development in July and September. Stakeholder conversations were paused while the Council tended to the 2022 budget. In the new year we resumed stakeholder conversations and have now held a dozen meetings.

Central Staff’s presentation on Tuesday updated the committee on policy changes since September. These changes include:

  • Refining the definitions of engaged time to acknowledge the differences between on-demand work and prescheduled work and define on-demand work as work that is expected to be performed within two hours of acceptance of a job.
  • Allowing for a grace period for the $5 minimum payment per offer.
  • Simplifying the requirement to provide information on contents of order.
  • Updated penalty amounts.

We are still receiving stakeholder feedback and are working towards introducing this legislation in March.

Celebrating Black History

This month, we celebrate and honor Black history in the U.S. and in Seattle. It is important to remember Black history as we continue to work on building an equitable city. You can learn more about the origins of Black History Month.

Seattle Municipal Archives has curated a digital collection on Black History Month in Seattle.

The Seattle Public Library has also compiled an online Special Collection of archives on Black Culture and History.

On February 17th, the Northwest African American Museum will also be hosting a conversation with the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture – Lonnie Bunch – to discuss the past, present, and future of Black history.


Virtual Office Hours

On Friday February 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) in order to receive the call-in information and schedule a time.

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

  • Friday, March 25, 2022
  • 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
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West Seattle Bridge Update; Sound Transit Station Planning Progress Reports; Rent Control for Small Businesses – Spread the Word; SDOT and SPU Winter Storm After-Action Report; District 1 Community Network Safety discussion; CPC/Police Monitor Outreach Meeting on Stops and Detentions; Take the Pickleball Survey; Virtual Office Hours

February 4th, 2022

West Seattle Bridge Update

Last weekend the construction contractor completed the installation for the second external bridge platform. This will allow carbon fiber wrap and epoxy injections to be applied to the exterior of the bridge.

The West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force will be meeting on February 10.

Sound Transit Station Planning Progress Reports

In addition to the Draft EIS, the Sound Transit website includes station planning progress reports. These reports are designed to complement the Draft EIS, with information about station planning, context, access and connections.

Here’s a link to the January 2022 West Seattle Link Extension Station Planning Progress Report, which covers the three West Seattle stations as well as SODO station.  You can also access the station planning progress reports for each individual station:

You can access the station planning progress reports for each station on the line from SODO to Ballard by clicking on the “Additional materials” link.

Here’s a guide for Introduction and Navigating the Report.

Sound Transit’s West Seattle/Duwamish Community Advisory Group will be meeting on Tuesday, February 8 from 5 to 7 p.m. Sound Transit will be presenting an overview of the Draft EIS results.

The meeting agenda will be available on the “Advisory groups” tab of the West Seattle and Ballard project webpage. Here’s a link for the live stream.

Rent Control for Small Businesses – Spread the Word

Recently my office has heard from several small businesses concerned about rent increases.  Please help spread the word that, during the pandemic emergency, small businesses and nonprofits are protected by commercial rent control and payment plans legislation that I sponsored in April 2020.

  • For tenants with a month-to-month lease, landlords cannot increase rent charged to a small business or nonprofit until the Civil Emergency Proclaimed by Mayor on March 3, 2020 is terminated.
  • For tenants with fixed-term leases, the landlord cannot:
    • Increase the rent charged, unless the increase was in the lease before 4/13/20; or
    • Renew the lease or enter into a new lease and increase the rent amount.

Landlords are also required to work with tenants to establish reasonable repayment plans for arrears.  Payment plans can’t require payment of more than 1/3 of arrears in any month, and payments may extend for one year after the Civil Emergency ends.

Need assistance to exercise these protections?  Here are some options:

SDOT and SPU Winter Storm After-Action Report

On Wednesday the Transportation and Seattle Public Utilities Committee heard presentations from both SDOT and SPU about their winter weather responses. I want to focus specifically on SPU’s report on flooding and sewer backups experienced in South Park, this starts on page 8 of SPU’s presentation linked above.

Beginning January 1 and lasting through the 7th we experienced snow melt along with a significant 10-year storm which brought a large amount of rain. Adding to the difficulties was a King Tide event. I’ve written about how King Tide events effect South Park here.

The graph below shows the large amount of rainfall received in a short period of time, but also the yellow line shows how high the King Tide was, which was two feet higher than anticipated.

The combination of so much rain and snow melt, along with the high King Tide led to flooding and sewer backups for some in South Park. The City and SPU are working to ease the flooding issues in South Park, you can read about the Conveyance Project here, and the Pump Station here. These projects, however, will only help with flooding issues. Issues related to sewer backflows are the County’s responsibility as they have jurisdiction over the sewer lines. SPU is committed to working with the County to address these issues holistically.

As SPU Interim General Manager Andrew Lee said during committee – while this event is extraordinary by our historical standards, it will be ordinary in the future if we don’t take steps to address climate change.

District 1 Community Network Safety Discussion

Earlier this week I met with the District 1 Community Network (D1CN) to discuss public safety and Seattle’s community safety initiatives.

I noted that the full year data for 2021 showed that crime increased 10% citywide compared to 2020. The number of shots fired increased as well. With so many police officers having left the department over the last 2 years, this highlights the need for additional alternative responses.  The Seattle Police Department released its 2021 Year-End Crime Report which, as I shared at D1CN earlier this week, shows increases in violent crime and gun violence compared to 2020.

Here’s a link to the presentation I gave to the D1CN about the Council and Executive’s community safety work including: 911 call analysis and expansion of each the Community Service Officer Program, Health One, and Mobile Crisis Teams; as well as new initiatives such as Triage One.

Representatives from the LEAD program, as well as the YMCA’s Alive & Free West Seattle community safety hub also presented about the work they are doing.

Earlier today, Mayor Harrell held a press conference. I applaud his attention to community safety in Seattle and calling for a multilayered approach to address the challenges we face. Here is a statement I released noting funding the Council has approved for both traditional public safety and innovative community safety approaches.

CPC/Police Monitor Outreach Meeting on Stops and Detentions

The Consent Decree Monitor and the Community Police Commission will be holding the second in a series of community engagement meetings on Tuesday, February 8. The focus of this meeting will be Stops and Detentions. The Monitor’s website notes:

“The assessment of stops and detentions will include statistical analysis of SPD stop trends overall, and broken out by demographics, over time. The assessment will include statistics regarding the frequency of frisks and how often frisks result in the discovery of weapons. The report will include a review of the quality of SPD stop practices and supervision of these practices to assess SPD’s compliance with Constitutional requirements pertaining to stops and frisks.”

To join the Zoom meeting and participate, you can go to:

https://zoom.us/j/96694242277?pwd=N2F0ekFib3R0R2dpNTQvNW9qTXlzQT09

Meeting ID: 966 9424 2277

Passcode: 948051

The Monitor will be publishing a Preliminary Assessment of Stops and Detentions, which will be available at the Monitor’s site.

In January Chief Diaz updated policies regarding traffic stops on the SPD blotter, which links to a letter to Inspector General Judge. This follows from a collaborative process between SPD, the Inspector General, SDOT and other stakeholders outside government.

Take the Pickleball Survey

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) is seeking input from tennis and pickleball players on how to best support the growth of pickleball. Everyone is encouraged to participate in a short survey. Whether you play pickleball or not, your thoughts are invaluable as SPR plans for the future of this sport in Seattle.

Your answers to the survey questions will inform how SPR:

  • Approaches immediate improvements such as dual striping existing tennis courts for pickleball (for which some funding is available now);
  • Adds pickleball lines to tennis courts during programmatic resurfacing and renovation projects; and
  • Develops options for future dedicated pickleball courts (yet to be funded).

This survey is part of the 2021-2022 Pickleball Study funded by the Seattle Park District. An advisory committee is meeting throughout the study and additional community engagement will include two public meetings. Dates and venues for the meetings will be posted on the project page.

To find out more about the study and to subscribe to updates please visit https://www.seattle.gov/parks/about-us/projects/2021-2022-outdoor-pickleball-study or contact Oliver Bazinet at oliver.bazinet@seattle.gov.

Virtual Office Hours

On Friday February 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) in order to receive the call-in information and schedule a time.

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

  • Friday, March 25, 2022
  • 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
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West Seattle Bridge Repair Update; Sound Transit Draft EIS Formal Comment Period Begins; Gun Violence; Public Safety and Human Services Committee Updates from 1/25; Get Vaccinated at the South Park Library on Saturday; Join the Families, Education, Preschool & Promise (FEPP) Levy Oversight Committee; Seattle Promise Deadline Extended to 3/1; Seattle Home Fairs

January 28th, 2022

West Seattle Bridge Repair Update

The next important step in the repair of the West Seattle Bridge is the installation of the second external work platform, near Pier 18 on the east span of the bridge. This is scheduled to be raised into place on Saturday, January 29th.

The work platforms allow for the installation of carbon fiber wrap and epoxy to the exterior of the bridge.

 

Sound Transit Draft EIS Formal Comment Period Begins

Today Sound Transit announced the start of the formal 90-day public comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the West Seattle and Ballard light rail project. Public comment runs through April 28. Virtual public meetings are scheduled for March, with a West Seattle-focused meeting on March 30th.

The West Seattle and Ballard Draft EIS webpage includes all the documents Sound Transit has released. It’s a lot of information, including Chapters 1-6 of the Draft EIS as well as a few dozen appendices. The Executive Summary is the most user-friendly single document.

To see the alternatives the DEIS examines in West Seattle, below are the maps and charts of just the West Seattle-related portions of the Executive Summary.

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.

Below is high-level information about the three segment alternatives, with maps showing the routes and charts showing the costs and impacts of the three segments. If it doesn’t display well, you can click on the link above for West Seattle, or if you’d prefer, the links for each of the three individual segments below.

In the maps below, the Preferred Alternative(s) selected by the Sound Transit Board is listed in red; the Preferred Alternative(s) with Third-Party funding is in brown. Dashes indicate elevated lines; dots show tunnels. There are a few instances of short portions that are at-grade, or retained cut, as explained below.

Duwamish Crossing segment

The first of the three West Seattle segments is the Duwamish crossing. This covers the area from SODO across the Duwamish to north Delridge.

There are three alternatives: two that go to the south of the West Seattle Bridge, and one to the north. One of the options to the south was identified by the Sound Transit Board as the Preferred Alternative for the Draft EIS. It is shown in red as the option that would travel close to the West Seattle Bridge (the other option is further south, toward the edge of Harbor Island). All options are elevated.

The preferred alternative has an estimated cost of $1.2 to $1.3 billion; the other two options are at $1.3 billion and $1.5billion. All would have some impact on businesses and employees; the south alternatives would have residential impacts:

Delridge segment

The second West Seattle section is the Delridge segment, which includes both the Delridge and Avalon stations. This segment runs from where a bridge crosses the Duwamish to the Avalon station at 35th and Avalon.

This includes station options in Delridge at a variety of locations; all have residential and business impacts. The Avalon stations are in the same general area; one option has lower heights. Both have residential and business impacts.

For the Delridge stations, cost estimates range from $400 million to $700 million. The station options for Avalon are estimated at $400 million and $500 million.

West Seattle Junction segment

The third West Seattle segment is the West Seattle Junction, which goes from the Avalon station area around 35th and Avalon to the station in the Junction.

There are two elevated preferred alternative options selected by the Board, that go to Fauntleroy at Edmunds, and to 41st and 42nd.

The Board also selected two preferred alternatives with 3rd party funding for tunnels at either 41st or 42nd and Alaska.

In addition, there are two partial tunnel options: Short Tunnel and Medium Tunnel. Both would go to 41st at Alaska. Near the Avalon Station area, they include a either a “Retained Cut,” where the trackway is cut into the ground with retaining walls, or at-grade leading into a retained cut (this is easier to see in the maps shown for each option in the link above).

The elevated preferred alternative to Fauntleroy is estimated at $900 million; the elevated preferred alternative to 41st/42nd is estimated at $1.3 billion. The two preferred tunnel alternatives with 3rd party funding are estimated at $1.7 billion. The Short Tunnel is estimated at $1.3 million, and the Medium Tunnel at $1.1 billion. All options have residential and business impacts.

Some of the segment alternatives connect with one another, but not all. Here’s a link to a table that shows the connections between segments. It’s in Appendix N-2, Visual and Aesthetics Technical Report.

Through April 28, comments may be sent via email to WSBLEDEIScomments@soundtransit.org or by voicemail at 800-471-0879.

The project webpage notes, “The Sound Transit Board will consider the analysis in the Draft EIS, as well as public, agency and Tribal comments, and additional information, before confirming or modifying the preferred alternative later this year. Sound Transit will then prepare a Final EIS. After publication of the Final EIS, the Board will make a final decision on the project to be built.”

Gun Violence

Rates of shots fired in Seattle continue to be higher than usual. In 2021 Seattle had 612 verified criminal shooting incidents and shots fired incidents city-wide – a 40% increase in overall shooting incidents over 2020, and an 86% increase compared to 2019. Of these, 31 incidents resulted in a fatality; 143 resulted in non-fatal injury.

I sincerely appreciate Chief Diaz’s recognition in the linked article that there is no single cause of the increase in gun violence in Seattle, as well as in jurisdictions throughout the nation. “We’re seeing upticks in every aspect of this, it’s not just one specific thing,” Diaz said. “You’re wondering is it related to COVID? Is it because you almost have to re-socialize everybody together? We have to almost realize that people have so much angst and so much anxiety and if they have access to a gun they’re willing to pick up a gun and use it.”

The rate of gun purchase over the last two years has also been documented in a recent New York Times article: “Americans bought many more guns in 2020 and 2021 than they did in previous years. The guns purchased in 2020 also seemed to be used in crime more quickly than firearms bought in previous years. And Americans seemed more likely to carry guns illegally in 2020. In short: Americans had more guns and were possibly more likely to carry and use them.” Research generally shows that where there are more guns, there is more gun violence.

In Seattle, SPD reports seizing 1,237 guns last year. As member of the King County Regional Gun Violence Prevention Leadership Group, convened by King County Executive Constantine and Renton City Councilmember Ed Prince, I appreciate their leadership to ensure King County is taking a public health approach to community safety and wellbeing while interrupting instances of violence through prevention, intervention, and restoration. Together, we must make a difference and save lives.

The City of Seattle 2022 Washington State Legislative Agenda is more important than ever. Here are the priority items: “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.” If you have interest in testifying to the State Legislature on these bills, you can find information about how to do so here: Alliance for Gun Responsibility (everyaction.com).

As mentioned, the increase in crime and gun violence is occurring throughout Seattle neighborhoods. I have also repeatedly discussed with Chief Diaz the organized retail theft, the open-air resale of these stolen goods, and the violence that often accompanies this activity. 12th Avenue South and South Jackson Street in Little Saigon and 3rd Avenue Downtown in the Pike/Pine area are two such areas where a lot of retail thefts and shootings have been reported over the last few weeks. The Chief has let me know that there is significant police activity at both locations. SPD is also in touch with neighborhood groups in these areas and in touch with SDOT as well about how to make changes that allow for SPD to observe suspected criminal activity. I care about downtown, but I also know that our neighborhood business districts are suffering too, including District 1. If you are a business owner, or a supporter of the businesses in your neighborhood, you may want to consider learning more about this bill in the State Legislature to address organized retail theft in instances where items are sold online.

Here is a recent statement from Mayor Harrell about the increase in gun violence:

“Every Seattle resident deserves to feel safe in our City, but repeated incidents of gun violence threaten and harm our collective sense of public safety. My office is committed to taking comprehensive and urgent action to address this preventable public health crisis. Our solutions must be both responsive and proactive.

“That’s why in my first month in office, I’ve hired a Gun Violence Prevention Coordinator to work directly with those impacted by this kind of violence and to help coordinate and drive community-based outreach and solutions.

“I will continue to advocate and support appropriate staffing levels at SPD to ensure quick responses to public safety emergencies and thorough investigations of acts of gun violence.

“And I will advocate for new investments like pilot programs for proven technology like Automatic Gunfire Locator Systems, along with regional coordination and change at the legislative level that allow us to pursue new policies to address the gun violence epidemic.”

Public Safety and Human Services Committee Updates from 1/25

  1. $13.8M Available from Human Services Department

At Tuesday’s Public Safety & Human Services committee meeting, I invited the Human Services Department to tell us about the new funding that will be made available to community organizations this year. The 2022 Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFA) includes a planned $13,814,738 in investments:

If you are a service provider, make sure you get notified when applications become available! HSD shares updates in several ways:

Learn more about the funding opportunities here, and view HSD’s committee presentation here.

  1. Discussion with Consent Decree Monitor

I also hosted an update from Antonio Oftelie, the court-appointed Monitor for the Seattle Police Department Consent Decree with the US Department of Justice, about his work during 2022.

You can watch the presentation and discussion on the Seattle Channel archive for this meeting. Here’s the Monitor’s presentation, along with a Central Staff overview of the Consent Decree.

The presentation included the questions the Monitor is seeking public input on as part of the community engagement meetings he is co-hosting with the Community Police Commission. The Monitor is publishing what are called “preliminary assessments” on crisis intervention, stops and detentions, and use of force, to inform public meetings, and seek community input.

The community input will be used to finalize compressive assessments that he will file with the Court, as part of his role as Monitor. He indicated these assessments could be filed sequentially or all at once.

At the first of the community engagement meetings earlier this month, on crisis intervention, there were three questions the Monitor asked based on the Preliminary Assessment on Crisis Intervention:

  1. What specific ideas do you have to improve crisis intervention in Seattle?
  2. What research or advocacy on crisis intervention should the Seattle Community Policing Commission pursue in 2022?
  3. What crisis intervention policy and practice areas, if any, should the Federal Monitor oversee implementation on in 2022?

If you have input on these questions, you can contact the Monitor team through the Consent Decree Monitor website.

Meetings will take place on Stops and Detentions on February 8, and Use of Force on March 8, 2022. Preliminary assessments will be available at the Monitor’s website.

The Monitor will also be developing a 2022 plan. The plan will cover: a. continuing ongoing work on accountably, b. efforts to support the Sentinel Event Review carried out by the Inspector General, and c. technical assistance the Monitor provides.

Get Vaccinated at the South Park Library on Saturday

If you can’t make the South Park Library clinic, check here for more vaccination locations: Getting vaccinated in King County – King County.

Join the Families, Education, Preschool & Promise (FEPP) Levy Oversight Committee

Are you interested in serving on a public committee to advise on how the City of Seattle advances equity in education through policy & financial investments? Applications are open now for Department of Education & Early Learning’s FEPP Levy Oversight Committee for 2022! Learn more at education.seattle.gov/fepp2022/.

 

Seattle Promise Deadline Extended to 3/1

Keep calm and hang in there. Seattle Promise extended its deadline, and they’re here to help. Get your Seattle Promise application and college admissions application in by March 1, 2022. Seattle public high school seniors, apply today at seattlecolleges.edu/promise.

All graduating seniors attending Seattle public high schools are eligible for Seattle Promise, regardless of grade point average (GPA), income, ability, or country of birth.

Seattle Promise is a college tuition and success program with three core components:

  • Free tuition at any of the Seattle Colleges: North Seattle College, Seattle Central College or South Seattle College for up to two years, 90 credits or a student’s first degree, whichever comes first.
  • Equity scholarships, which provide flexible funding to students, for books, transportation, housing, etc. for those with financial need.
  • Student support and advising beginning in the junior year of high school and lasting through completion of a degree, certificate, credential or transfer to a four-year institution.

Learn more and apply at Seattle Promise: More than a Scholarship — A Partnership | Seattle Colleges.

Seattle Home Fairs

The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections is hosting Home Fairs online. The virtual home fairs are an opportunity to learn about the permitting process, code requirements, renting in Seattle, and more. You can check-out their website and signup here.

Here are the dates and presentations:

Our January 29 Seattle Home Fair schedule is:

Our January 30 Seattle Home Fair schedule is:

 
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Sound Transit West Seattle Light Rail Draft EIS; West Seattle Bridge Update; Free Covid Tests and Masks; Pothole Reporting and Tracking; Catalytic Converter Theft Testimony; Applications Due 2/28 for the Indigenous Advisory Council; Reduced Operating Hours at Some Libraries; Explore District 1 Through Public Art; Virtual Office Hours

January 21st, 2022

Sound Transit West Seattle Light Rail Draft EIS

The Sound Transit Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the West Seattle Ballard Link Extension is now available online in advance of the formal publication date of January 28. Sound Transit will hold a 90-day public comment period starting January 28, though April 28.

Here’s the West Seattle and Ballard Draft EIS webpage, where you can access the Executive Summary, as well as the chapters and appendices of the report.

The Executive Summary includes maps showing the alternatives, as well as charts comparing the costs and impacts. The alternatives considered in the DEIS were approved for inclusion by the Sound Transit Board. After the public comment period, the Board will decide which alternatives to include in the Final EIS. For West Seattle, the DEIS analysis is in three segments:

  • Duwamish crossing
  • Delridge (which includes both the Delridge and Avalon Stations)
  • West Seattle Junction

The Fact Sheet notes how to send in public comments, and the geographic focus for each of the five public meetings:

Email comments should be sent to: WSBLEDEIScomments@soundtransit.org. Comments may also be submitted online through https://wsblink.participate.online/ or left as a voicemail at the following number: 1-800-471-0879. Written or emailed comments should include the commentor’s name and return address or email address. All comments may be submitted in languages other than English and will be translated. Comments may also be offered at a public hearing or open house:


West Seattle Bridge Update

Here’s  the first of SDOT’s regular progress update videos. This December video highlights hydro-demolition to create access openings in the bridge deck, installation of rigging cables, and platform assembly for crews to create a workspace on the underside of the bridge.

A second work platform is scheduled to be raised to the underside of the bridge next weekend.

Spokane Street (Lower) Bridge Update:

In addition, for the Spokane Street (low) bridge, current bridge strengthening and enhancement work associated with the Low Bridge are incorporated with the KNA repair contract. At this point in time, KNA is constructing the work platforms at ground level with the plan to raise and secure the suspended work platform under the low bridge in mid-February.

SDOT is coordinating with the maritime community and key stakeholders to schedule pump replacement and hydraulic system maintenance on the east side of the waterway; this work will require approval from US Coast Guard to deviate from a full bridge opening to only a single leaf opening to marine traffic. This work could occur as soon as late January pending feedback from stakeholders and approval from US Coast Guard.

SDOT plans to install a repaired hydraulic cylinder on the east side of the waterway when the components needed to complete the install are ready.

Control systems are also being upgraded. SDOT’s contractor, Taurus Power & Controls, continues to procure the required control system components and develop detailed plans for installing the new control system scheduled for completion after the high bridge opens in mid-2022.

As a part of the Low Bridge Controls Project, SDOT will reroute and update the wires connecting the control tower that allow the low bridge to open and close for maritime traffic off the West Seattle Bridge – where they are today – to a new location under the waterway. The communications project reached 100% Design in early December and will advertise for bids in late January.

Reconnect West Seattle Update

SDOT provided the following updates re: Reconnect West Seattle work to mitigate the closure of the West Seattle Bridge.

To recap 2021, the Reconnect West Seattle (RWS) program installed 115 capital projects: 53 of them community prioritized as listed in the RWS Implementation Plan and the three Home Zone neighborhoods, and 62 to directly mitigate traffic impacts.

Looking ahead to 2022, the team will be working to deliver 10 2022 RWS Implementation Plan projects, the remaining 24 Home Zone projects, continued traffic mitigation, RWS decommissioning (projects that need to be removed as the High Bridge is reopened), and two sets of projects that will begin after the High Bridge re-opens that we purposefully held to avoid impacting traffic on the detour routes.

In addition, The team:

  • installed 8 paint-and-post curb bulbs to mitigate traffic concerns from the Fauntleroy Community (6 at three locations) and W Marginal Way residential area near 17th Ave SW (2 locations).
  • modified SR-99 southbound, with WSDOT approval, to open the third lane for more capacity, specifically focused on better transit reliability to approach the Low Bridge.
  • met with the 16th Ave SW Safety committee near South Seattle College again to discuss concerns and process for improvements. Additional Vision Zero yard signs in different languages will be placed along 16th Ave SW in January, and radar speed sign design is ongoing.
  • Is looking at Utah Ave S, rather than Colorado Ave S, for a bike connection in SODO, to align with the E Marginal Way project, which identifies the east/west bike connection to meet with Utah Ave S.

Home Zones

South Park

  • Crews have started planting 100 trees in the neighborhood this winter.
  • We have 8 projects to complete in the first half of 2022.

Highland Park

  • Crews have starting planting 100 trees in the neighborhood this winter. Fifty of the trees will be planted along the SW Barton St Neighborhood Greenway and species will alternate between Oak, Elm, Ironwood, and Dogwood.
  • We have 13 projects to complete in the first half of 2022.

Georgetown

  • Crews were one day into adding ADA curb ramps at S Eddy St and S Albro Pl when concrete drivers went on strike, so we will finish that project when able. Another project’s construction, 6th Ave S walkway and delineation, was paused by winter weather in late December/early January.
  • Crews started planting 100 trees in the neighborhood this winter.
  • We have 4 projects to complete in the first half of 2022.

 

Free Covid Tests and Masks

Free Home Tests:  Every home in the U.S. can order 4 free, rapid at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests. The tests are completely free, and shipped to your home, courtesy of the federal government. Tests will usually ship in 7-12 days. Order your tests at COVIDtests.gov. For assistance, you can file a service request, or call the help desk at 1-800-ASK-USPS.

This morning, Washington State launched its own online portals (in English and Spanish) to order free tests to be delivered to your home.  Tests are expected to arrive within 1-2 weeks.  If you have any problems, contact syct-orders@careevolution.com and include the order number if available.

As of January 15th, all private health insurers are required to reimburse the cost of eight at-home antigen COVID-19 tests per covered individual each month.  Check out this FAQ and contact your insurance company to learn more.

As always, you can get a free PCR test from City- and County-run testing sites.  Check out the County’s list of testing sites, or register for a test from a City site.

Free Masks Coming:  Both the federal and state governments have recently announced the intention to distribute free masks.  Here’s what we know so far:

  • President Biden announced last week that the federal government will be providing high-quality masks for free. This article has more details, including that masks are likely to be distributed through pharmacies and community health centers.
  • On January 5th, Governor Inslee announced that Washington State will “release about 10 million masks… for distribution into local communities, including K-12 schools, in the coming weeks. Local and state emergency management distribution channels will be used, as well as local health departments and our K-12 infrastructure…”

Both efforts are likely to be widely covered in the media, so stay tuned.  In the meantime, Public Health – Seattle & King County provides this advice about high-quality masks.  Looking for a credible place to buy N95 and KN95 masks?  Check out the nonprofit Project N95.


Pothole Reporting and Tracking

With winter weather, snow and heavy rainfall, there has been an increase in potholes on Seattle’s streets. I’ve received a number of constituent contacts about potholes and have assisted in getting potholes reported.

Here is where you can report a pothole online. You can track the progress on SDOT’s Pothole Repair Status page.

SDOT notes their goal is to fill potholes within three business days; they notified media it may take longer as a result of winter storms, and the effect on road conditions citywide.  SDOT did an alert last week noting they received 4 times as many reports (600) during the previous week compared to last winter. That’s why it’s taking longer than usual. In addition, there are more reports of potholes over a number of blocks, rather than individual potholes. During 2021 85% of reported potholes were filled within 72 hours.

Winter weather has brought additional impacts on staff time, from driving snow plows to the importance of responding quickly to the Highland Park Way landslides, with the West Seattle Bridge closed. There’s also been flooding in some areas, including South Park; the storms unfortunately didn’t stop with just the snow.

At the Pothole Repair Status page you can also track where potholes have been filled during the past 90 days; larger circles indicate several potholes were filled. For example, during November, 9 potholes were filled on 35th Avenue SW between SW 106th and 107th, 12 on Harbor Avenue SW between Fairmount and Bronson, and 6 on SW Sylvan Heights Drive.

 

Catalytic Converter Theft Testimony

Earlier this week I spoke in support of a bill at the state legislature to address catalytic converter theft. State law limits the ability of local jurisdictions like Seattle to adopt laws. Here’s the testimony I gave:

Thank you, Chair Goodman, Representative Ryu and members of the committee. 

“My name is Lisa Herbold. I am a member of the Seattle City Council. I represent the neighborhoods of West Seattle and South Park and serve as the chair of our public safety and human services committee.  I am here to testify in support of House bill 1815. 

I’ve heard concerns from neighbors and constituents about the dramatic increase in the theft of catalytic convertors. These crimes inconvenience drivers and working families. Replacing these stolen car parts cost my constituents time and money they don’t have to spare.

This bill would begin to address the problem and explore solutions. The pilot established by this bill would mark catalytic convertors with vehicle identification numbers or other unique identifiers. This would enable local jurisdictions to better identify the ownership of catalytic convertors and would make it more difficult for thieves to resell these parts illegally. The bill also establishes a task force to help develop creative policies to solve difficult problem. 

Thank you very much for your time.”

RCW 19.290.200 states that “the state of Washington hereby fully occupies and preempts the entire field of regulation of scrap metal processors, recyclers, or suppliers.”

I worked with the City’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations (OIR) and SPD to add this language to the City’s State Legislative Agenda: “We support action to address the theft of catalytic converters, including repealing state’s preemption of the regulation of scrap metal processors.”  I continue to be in touch with OIR and SPD about this and look forward to continuing work with the state legislature.

 

Applications Due 2/28 for the Indigenous Advisory Council

Applications are now being accepted for Positions 1-9 of the Indigenous Advisory Council through online or paper applications. Completed applications are due Monday, February 28 at 5pm.

On Indigenous Peoples Day 2021, Councilmember Debora Juarez transmitted City legislation to create an Indigenous Advisory Council. This council is a step forward in strengthening the City of Seattle’s relationships with American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities. Beginning in 2022, appointed members will advise the Mayor, City Council, and City departments on policies and issues directing affecting Indigenous people.

If you have questions or would like to receive a paper application, please contact Francesca Murnan, Indigenous Advisory Council Liaison, at Francesca.Murnan@seattle.gov or 206-459-6379.

 

Reduced Operating Hours at Some Libraries

In response to staffing challenges caused by omicron, Seattle Public Library is reducing some operating hours.  They note:

These changes are being made in order to offer more consistent and reliable operating hours and schedules for the public and to provide more reliable schedules for Library staff…  We expect these changes will reduce, and possibly eliminate, the unscheduled branch closures we have seen over the last month.

We do not have an anticipated end date for this schedule, but we continue to onboard and train new staff to expand our staffing capacity.

Here are the new operating hours for District 1 branches, with changes highlighted:


 

Explore District 1 Through Public Art

Seattle is home to an incredible collection of permanently sited and temporary artworks.  Established in 1972, it includes more than 400 permanently sited/integrated artworks and over 3,200 portable artworks. They’re made possible through Seattle’s 1% for art ordinance. In 2020, Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture made the collection available online through the Civic Collection Emuseum.

We’ll share some local pieces to inspire your district explorations from time to time.  You can find the South Park Vortex pictured below at Marra-Desimone Park, on South Director Street.


Virtual Office Hours

On Friday January 28, I will be hosting virtual office hours between 2pm and 6pm, with the last meeting of the day beginning at 5:30pm.

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

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

  • Friday, February 25, 2022
  • Friday, March 25, 2022
  • 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

 

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Remarks about SPD Ruse; West Seattle Bridge Update ; South Park Flooding and Highland Park Way Landslide ; Signing Up for Committee Agendas ; Hospitalization Crisis; Free Home Test Kits Coming; Human Trafficking Awareness ; December 911 Outage; Virtual Office Hours

January 14th, 2022

Remarks about SPD Ruse, Faking Presence of Armed Proud Boys

You watch my remarks from a press conference following revelations that the Seattle Police Department improperly used a ruse, faking radio calls claiming a hate group was marching through Seattle on June 8, 2020 toward people protesting police brutality.

West Seattle Bridge Update

Last weekend the first of two work platforms was raised to the undersi2de of the West Seattle Bridge. Here’s a time-lapse video showing the work:

Check out our time-lapse video of the work platform lift

The work platforms will be used to install carbon fiber wrap and add epoxy injections to the exterior of the bridge. Here’s an image of the installation:

Upcoming work includes core drilling inside the bridge at Pier 16, to create access holes for post-tensioning cables that will reinforce the strength of the concrete in the bridge. Utility lines will be relocated there to make space for additional post-tensioning cables.

Mayor Harrell let members of the West Seattle Bridge Task Force know that he would like to continue the meetings and requested that members continue to serve. I appreciate Mayor Harrell’s recognizing the expertise and commitment of members. Members have been critical in identifying important issues directly to SDOT during planning, and it’s important to continue this work to assist in keeping the project on target for the June 30 timeline for completion of repairs.

South Park Flooding and Highland Park Way Landslide

Last week South Park experienced flooding caused by King Tides and significant rainfall. Many residents have been impacted by the flooding and sewer backups due to the high-water levels. If you have property damage due to flooding or sewer backups there is assistance available. Please reach out to me (lisa.herbold@seattle.gov) and I will connect you with the appropriate entity to get the assistance process started.

The city is working to address the flooding issues in South Park through two major projects, the South Park Drainage and Roadway Partnership and the South Park Pump Station. I previously wrote about the pump station project here.

Last week, and earlier this week, Highland Park Way SW was closed due to landslides.

My office wrote SDOT to about what the landslide mitigation plan is for Highland Park Way SW, noting the critical importance of Highland Park Way as a detour route while the West Seattle Bridge is closed. Traffic volumes remain significantly higher than prior to the closure of the bridge.

My message noted that landslides occurred during 2017; this is a recurring issue. In 2017 I raised the issue of proactive work to minimize the risk of slides, for supplemental budget legislation then under consideration.

SDOT replied to acknowledge the request about mitigation plans and funding, and noted they would follow up, and noted they had installed concrete ecology blocks where the slide occurred:

Traffic was then opened for one lane in each direction and has since been fully restored.

The Council approved the funding in 2017, and SDOT noted they engaged in erosion control measures in after the 2017 landslide, which took place further to the south of this year’s landslide, including plantings and a concrete wall; that slope has remained stable.

Signing Up for Committee Agendas

As noted last week, the City Council has adopted a new 2022-2023 committee structure. Below is a comparison of the new and previous 2020-2021 structure.

You can sign up to receive committee agendas for individual Council committees, or for all of them. To sign up click on the button below:

Subscribe to 2022-2023 Committees

If you have signed up previously for committee agenda, most subscriptions have been carried over to the committee that best reflects the 2022-2023 committee scope. For some new committees, you may need to re-subscribe.

All committee agendas are posted at the City Clerks’ committee webpage.

Hospitalization Crisis; Free Home Test Kits Coming

Public Health-Seattle & King County says the situation at our local hospitals is dire.  In their live media briefing yesterday, the Washington State Hospital Association had 3 asks for all of us:

  1. Don’t use the ER for COVID testing or mild symptoms.  Find testing sites.  
  2. Get vaccinated and boosted.  Find a vaccine appointment.  
  3. Upgrade your masks.  Learn more here.

Free Home Covid Test Kits:  Today, the White House announced that starting on January 19th, you will be able to order free home Covid test kits at COVIDtests.gov – Free at-home COVID-19 tests.

To ensure broad access, the program will limit the number of tests sent to each residential address to four tests. Tests will usually ship within 7-12 days of ordering.  Read more here.

Hospitalization Crisis:  Amidst our crisis in hospital capacity, I invited Director Dennis Worsham from Public Health-Seattle & King County to present at Tuesday’s meeting of my Public Safety & Human Services committee meeting.  You can view his presentation here, and watch his remarks here starting at 1:19’.

Director Worsham pointed to this analysis from the New York Times, which shows that people who are not fully vaccinated are much more likely be hospitalized:

Pause on Non-Emergency Procedures Statewide:  On Thursday, Governor Jay Inslee ordered a four-week pause on all non-emergency procedures at hospitals statewide, and additional actions including calling up National Guard members to help address the hospitalization crisis.

Get Vaxed & Boosted Locally: The West Seattle vaccination site is open Fridays 11am-7pm and Saturdays 8:30am-4:30pm at Neighborhood House, 6400 Sylvan Way SW.  Vaccination is always free.  Schedule your appointment here, or just show up.  (Appointments required for kids ages 5-11.)

Human Trafficking Awareness

On Monday, I sponsored a proclamation declaring January as “Human Trafficking Awareness Month,” to proclaim the equality and freedom inherent to all people. The proclamation sets forward the City’s intent to advocate for legislation and protection for survivors, to educate leaders, and to encourage public awareness and action against various forms of human trafficking.

To report concerns that human trafficking might be taking place, please call the Washington Anti-Trafficking Response NetworkVictim Assistance Line at 206.245.0782or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888.3737.888.

More information about combatting human trafficking can be found here:

People of color, young people, LGBTI people, and people vulnerable through socio-economic barriers, are disproportionately affected by trafficking.  More than 400 trafficking survivors receive advocacy, counseling, and therapeutic services as a result of City investments. I’m grateful to the Domestic Violence Prevention Council and Human Services Department for bringing awareness of how trafficking contributes to the breakdown of families and community, fuels organized crime, and undermines public health.

December 911 Outage

At my committee meeting on Tuesday, Community Safety and Communications (CSCC) Director, Chris Lombard presented on the December Statewide 911 outage that lasted just over an hour. Most calls continued to get routed to CSCC dispatchers but were routed through another number. This was a back-up redundancy which worked as intended.

The outage was caused by a contractor – ComTech – doing maintenance on their network. The network includes an “A” side and a “B” side, and when one side is down the network should default to the other side. When ComTech began maintenance on the “A” side calls were not routed through the “B” side as intended. ComTech provides these services through a contract they have with the State, and the city does not have a relationship with ComTech.

Shortly after the outage began the city sent a public notification via Alert Seattle which included an alternative number to call for emergencies in Seattle. Unfortunately, that alert went much wider than the city itself. The city is still investigating why this happened. This is unfortunate because some people misunderstood the alert and called which led to an unmanageable spike in calls at the dispatch center. These calls were not emergencies, but people either confirming the number worked or because they misunderstood the alert message to mean that they should call to test the number. The dispatch center received 1,051 calls within one hour when they typically would have received 79 calls. This increase of 1,230% in shown in this graph:

While the city doesn’t have a direct relationship with ComTech, King County and the State are investigating and will report more on the outage and how to avoid others like it in the future.

Virtual Office Hours

On Friday January 28, I will be hosting virtual office hours between 2pm and 6pm, with the last meeting of the day beginning at 5:30pm.

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

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

  • Friday, February 25, 2022
  • Friday, March 25, 2022
  • 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
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