Regional Gun Violence Prevention Leadership Advisory Group; West Seattle Bridge Schedule Details for Repair and Major Maintenance; Get Vaxed and Boosted to Protect Against Omicron; 2022 Funding Available Notification from Human Services; Public Safety & Human Services Committee Report; Unreinforced Masonry Resolution; SFD Chief Compensation Bill

Regional Gun Violence Prevention Leadership Advisory Group

Gun violence is a public health crisis that affects the entire region. Taking a public health approach to addressing gun violence can address root causes and improve community safety for all people involved. BIPOC communities are more impacted by gun violence. This is a critically important equity element to center our work.

Last month, I participated in a meeting 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 can make a difference and save lives.

The Regional Peacekeepers’ Collective plays a key role in this effort. I sponsored $500,000 in the 2021 midyear budget supplemental to fund the Regional Peacekeepers’ Collective.  I appreciated and supported the Mayor’s proposal for additional funding in the 2022 budget.

The Mayor’s proposed budget inadvertently included a reduction of $3.65 million to fund community safety investments, which I worked with the Council to restore.  As a result, the 2022 budget continues funding for the Community Safety Initiative, which includes funding for programs in Southeast Seattle, the Central District, and the Alive & Free program in West Seattle.

I support King County’s Regional Gun Violence Prevention efforts and call on leaders across the County to join us.

West Seattle Bridge Schedule Details for Repair and Major Maintenance

At the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force, Kraemer North American, the contractor for the West Seattle Bridge repair, presented schedule details for the repair and major maintenance, and detailed drawings showing where work will take place.

First, a note that SDOT will be updating, on an ongoing basis, the visual below as one way to illustrate the progress on repair work listing status of work by color coding.

This locations shown in orange as “under construction” are where hydro blasting is occurring to be able to mount external work platforms, which will be moved along the west and east bridge spans for carbon fiber wrapping and epoxy injections on the outside of the bridge. Work platforms are shown in blue as “coming soon.” Once the hydroblasting is complete, for example, the orange area will then be shown in green as “complete.”

Repair Overview

Below is information about the repair presented by Kraemer North America.

This slide shows where repairs will take place. In case it’s not visible on your device, here’s a link to a larger visual for this and the next slide. In the drawings, “PT” means steel post-tensioning (shown in the green line), and “CFRP strengthening” means carbon fiber polymer wrap strengthening (shown in blue for exterior work, and purple for additions inside the bridge).

Plans for the lower bridge are in the bottom drawing.

Below is a visual of the bridge deck from above (the second slide linked here). Some of the work shown here is for major maintenance, as described below.

The green lines are expansion joints that will be replaced; the blue lines are expansion joints that will be rehabilitated.

The area in red is where a new bridge deck overlay will be added on the Fauntleroy Expressway.

10 overheard sign structures will be added, replacing existing signs. In addition, new jersey barriers will be installed, 4000+ feet long.

West Seattle Bridge Repair Schedule

Here’s the first detailed schedule for repairs to the West Seattle Bridge, working toward mid-2022 completion. It shows the timetable for repair elements including carbon fiber polymer work from December 2021 to May 2022, post tensioning during March and April 2022, crack injection from December 2021 to May 2022 and restoration of the bridge deck in June 2022:

Bridge Major Maintenance

In addition to the repair work, SDOT is performing major maintenance to the bridge during this time period. This will reduce the need for future lane closures. The work is possible because additional geotechnical review determined that seismic stabilization of Pier 18 will not be needed at this time, as originally forecasted.

Funds originally planned for use on Pier 18 stabilization are now directed to major maintenance, including work on expansion joints shown in the bridge deck map above, concrete overlay and carbon fiber wraps. If SDOT hadn’t reallocated federal grant funds to this work, they’d have to be returned to the federal government.

Work also includes re-striping the roadway and replacing signs. Kraemer noted if the signs cannot be installed before the bridge re-opens, they will be installed overnight to minimize impact on traffic.

Carbon Fiber Reinforcing Polymer Wrap

Carbon fiber wrap will be used outside and inside the bridge. It is as strong as steel. Epoxy injections will be used to seal cracks in the concrete; after that, concrete will be polished, and then the carbon fiber will be installed to prevent cracks. Paint with UV protection will then be added to avoid degradation of carbon fiber.


The slide below includes detail from Kraemer about the steel post-tensioning work. It notes the post-tensioning steel strands will be 46.75 miles if stretched end to end, and include 20.8 million pounds of force, compared to 6.72 million pounds of force in the emergency stabilization work done last year.

The post-tensioning steel strands will be added across the entire structure. The purpose is to pull the bridge from end to end tighter together, to get the concrete to press into itself (concrete isn’t inherently strong in tension). Some post-tensioning was included in the original bridge, but more is needed.

A key element of post-tensioning is ensuring that it works to maintain the geometry of the bridge, with the center higher, and Piers 15 and 18 lower. This is one reason why design is important to success of the project; another is the addition of 92 tons of steel and 24 tons of concreate. The additional weight must be accurately balanced.

Bridge Access: Work platforms

Work platforms will be used in two sections starting by Pier 15 and Pier 18, as shown above. They will be movable along the east and west portions of the work area, to add epoxy and carbon fiber wrap.

They were designed for the bridge during stabilization. Winching systems are on site, and the hydroblasting will allow the platforms to be hoisted into place.

Here is a link to additional details and visuals on High Bridge Access

To limit interruption to marine traffic and traffic on the lower bridge, the platform raising will be scheduled for an evening or weekend.  Once work is complete, platforms will be returned to the ends at Piers 15 and 18 and lowered.

The “hydroblasting” work consists of water pressurized at 8,000 pounds per square inch. This is sufficient to remove the concrete, but doesn’t damage tensioning strands in the bridge, or the rebar in the structure.

You may have seen firefighters on the bridge deck this week; they were there for training exercises.

Reconnect West Seattle Updates

The Duwamish Longhouse interim signal on West Marginal is now operational. A permanent signal will be installed later. This has been a longstanding request of the Duwamish, dating to the opening of the Longhouse in 2009, to enhance access.

Below are updates SDOT provided regarding Reconnect West Seattle Projects.

Traffic mitigation:

  • SDOT completed some tree maintenance work on West Marginal Way SW, north of the Highland Park Way SW intersection.
  • On 9th Ave SW & SW Portland St and 16th Ave SW & SW Holly St, SDOT constructed speed cushions to mitigate high motorists’ travel speeds. Our transportation operations division is still working with the Seattle Fire Department to resume traffic calming discussions in a few locations in West Seattle. SDOT has paused speed hump/cushion installation in 2021 to allow for these discussions.
  • SDOT built new curb ramps on SW 28th St and SW Thistle St.
  • SDOT installed eight “paint and post” projects – in the Fauntleroy neighborhood (6 at the locations below) and at Marginal Way Pl SW and 17th Ave SW (2):
    • 45th Ave SW and Wildwood Pl SW
    • California Ave SW (at Fauntleroy Church and YMCA)
    • 37th Ave SW and SW Thistle St

Home Zones

South Park:

  • SDOT is working with abutting property owners in the development of conveyance swale and walkway projects, since those property owners will need to care for the improvements.

 Highland Park:

  • SDOT is still engaged with concerned property owners on 14th Ave SW between SW Kenyon St and SW Elmgrove St about tree planting impacts on parking and potential future view loss. SDOT will attempt one more design modification with the community to determine if a low-cost walkway could move forward for this street.
  • SDOT is meeting with the Parks Department about a recommended walkway along the north side of SW Webster St (south side of Riverview Park) and discuss the design that is within their property and determine if this project will move forward. The community desires a walkway.
  • The SDOT Urban Forestry crews are currently planting approximately 50 trees in the Highland Park Home Zone on SW Barton St, which will become a Neighborhood Greenway in early 2022. The crews will be alternating with Oak, Elm, Ironwood and Dogwood.
  • The Home Zone communities are excited for the trees as they combat air pollution from the increased traffic and corresponding emissions they have experienced due to West Seattle reroutes.

Get Vaxed and Boosted to Protect Against Omicron

87.5% of residents 12+ have begun vaccinations in King County.  The Washington State Department of Health is urging everyone to get vaccinated or boosted as soon as you are eligible – especially now that the omicron variant has been discovered in King County.

Many pharmacies at drug stores and grocery stores are offering shots by appointment or walk-in.  Vaccines are always free.  Some useful resources:

This Saturday from 9am to 3pm, Louisa Boren STEM K-8 is hosting a vaccine clinic for students in the district and their families.  Students do not have to attend the school where the clinic is offered.

Medical Provider: Safeway/Albertsons Pharmacy
Vaccine Available: Pfizer Pediatric for 5–11-year-olds.
First and second doses OK.

By getting vaccinated and boosted, healthy friends and family help protect the most vulnerable in our communities, such as children and adults with chronic conditions that place them at higher risk for severe illness due to COVID-19.  Learn more about booster shots here: COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots | CDC.

2022 Funding Available Notification from Human Services

The Human Services Department (HSD) recently released its Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for 2022.  The NOFA provides an overview of HSD’s impending funding opportunities for 2022, anticipated funding amounts, release dates, and contract start dates.

Planned investments for 2022 include:

  • Farm to Table Support Services
  • Youth and Young Adult Behavioral Health
  • Gender-Based Violence Victim Services
  • Batterer Intervention Services; AND
  • Gender-Based Violence Legal Services

Once finalized, HSD will issue detailed funding opportunities for each investment on its Funding Opportunities webpage.  The list may change or be expanded in the future; you can sign up to receive notifications about funding opportunities on the same page.

Public Safety & Human Services Committee Report

Human Services Department (HSD) Financial and Operational Improvement Plan

HSD financial controls have been in the news lately.  I have been working with HSD, the City Budget Office, and my colleagues to address these issues.  Because I know the public has concerns too, I invited Acting HSD Director Tanya Kim, City Budget Director Ben Noble, HSD’s CFO Joseph Kasperski, and City Finance Director Glen Lee to report in my committee on their work strengthening HSD’s financial management.  At the December 9th meeting of the Public Safety & Human Services committee, they also addressed the steps they are taking to guard against fraudulent activities in the future, including requiring requests from contractors to change banks to be handled centrally by the City’s Finance office as described above.  You can review presentation materials here, and watch the presentation and discussion here.

Unreinforced Masonry Resolution

Unreinforced Masonry buildings, commonly known as “URMs,” constructed between 1886 and 1957 with brick or clay tile bearing walls where the parapets and walls are not secured to the floors and roofs, have been a topic of ongoing conversation at City Hall for decades – over fifty years now. Council Central Staff’s memo on Resolution 32033 does a great job of covering the background if you want to learn more.

Fast forward to 2017, the City’s URM Policy committee released final recommendations which note that there are over 1,100 URMs in the City, and these buildings pose a risk because occupants of them are likely to be injured or killed in a major earthquake. The cost of seismic upgrades is a barrier for building owners.

In February 2018, I led the members of the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee to send a letter to Mayor Durkan underscoring the urgency and need to prioritize a URM policy in order to prevent catastrophic loss of life when – not if – the next major earthquake strikes. Specifically, the committee requested focus on the 77 buildings with critical vulnerability first, these include hospitals, schools, and fire stations.

The 2017 recommendations estimated a total cost to Seattle building owners of over a billion dollars to retrofit all the URM buildings in Seattle. So, finding a way to finance this work is a critical component to developing a program to require seismic retrofits. In 2020, after City lobbying efforts, the State passed, and the Governor signed into law, the C-PACER program. The C-PACER program provides a financing mechanism to help owners of commercial and multifamily buildings cover the costs associated with energy efficiency and seismic retrofits.  With the C-PACER program authorized by State Law, King County had to enact it because the financing mechanism is related to the function of property assessments, a function of County government.  The King County Council recently did so and, as a result, the program is anticipated to begin accepting applications in early 2022.

Since early 2020, I have been working with stakeholders to craft a resolution that would provide guidance to City departments in their development of a phased mandatory retrofit program for URMs. I’d hoped to pass the resolution last year; however, the work of the Office of Emergency Management and Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections necessary to fulfill the requirements in the resolution was not possible given the 2020 focus on addressing the emergency impacts of COVID19.

The unanimous passage of this resolution out of my committee today is the culmination of a years’ worth of work with stakeholders and the executive to agree on the reporting parameters and timeline contained in the resolution.  Additionally, included in Mayor Durkan’s proposed budget and supported with the final passage by Council, was funding for a full-time position at the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection to facilitate and coordinate the work necessary to develop a final program to address URMs.

I thank the many stakeholders for their work and dedication to the passage of this resolution.  Creating a pathway that will ensure that URMs are safe buildings for those occupying and working in them will require our continued work together.

SFD Chief Compensation Bill

This bill, which passed unanimously out of committee, creates a new compensation program for the Seattle Fire Chief. Currently the Fire Chief is classified as an “Executive 4,” which is the same classification used for Deputy Fire Chiefs. Salary compression issues are created when the top job is classified in the same way as other jobs, because there little or no difference in pay, but large differences in responsibilities, skills, or qualifications.  The Seattle Department of Human Resources (SDHR) conducted an analysis of comparable fire chief positions among the standard “West Coast Seven” cities which includes San Francisco, San Diego, Oakland, Long Beach, Sacramento, San Jose, and Portland to come up with a new salary rate for the position of Fire Chief.

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