SFD Fire Safety Fair and Free Smoke Strobe Alarms / New Telehealth Clinic Finder / Join a District 1 Civic Coffee / The Pay Penalty for Human Services Workers / RapidRide H Line Service Begins Saturday, March 18 / Urban Estuary Restoration at Vigor on Harbor Island / Michigan Encampment Resolution


SFD Fire Safety Fair and Free Smoke Strobe Alarms

Station 37 is hosting a Fire Safety Fair for Southwest and West Seattle residents. The event offers an opportunity for families to meet local firefighters, explore fire equipment like ladder trucks and fire engines, and even join Chief Scoggins for a Firefighter Story Time.

This free Fire Safety Fair will be Saturday, April 1 from 12 PM to 2 PM at Station 37 (7700 35th Ave SW). I encourage District 1 neighbors to attend – I had a wonderful time learning more about SFD’s operations myself earlier this year.

Seattle Fire Department is offering free strobe smoke alarms for d/Deaf and hard of hearing Seattle residents. These strobe alarms detect smoke and carbon monoxide, but unlike traditional smoke detectors that emit a high-pitched alarm sound, strobe smoke alarms use flashing strobe lights to alert people.

Seattle residents interested in a free strobe smoke/co alarm can contact the Seattle Fire Department by emailing fireinfo@seattle.gov or using this online form.

New Telehealth Clinic Finder

If you need sexual or reproductive healthcare services, check out the state Department of Health’s new webpage and tool to find telehealth options at Telehealth Services | Washington State Department of Health.

Telehealth services available:

  • birth control refills
  • pregnancy options counseling
  • emergency contraceptives
  • screenings for sexually transmitted infections
  • gender-affirming care*
  • PrEP for HIV prevention*

*available at some sites if a person has previously received the services from the provider.

Join a District 1 Civic Coffee

Civic Coffee is a monthly event by Seattle Human Services where older people can meet community leaders and local government officials, ask questions and provide feedback.

  • Tuesday, 3/21 at Noon: Senior Safety
  • Neighborhood House High Point Center, 6400 Sylvan Way SW

Panel discussion on proactive tips and steps you can take to enhance your personal safety in your neighborhood. Live in-person translations in Somali, Oromo, and Vietnamese are available!  Learn more here.

The Pay Penalty for Human Services Workers

At Tuesday’s meeting of my Public Safety & Human Services committee meeting, we were joined by a University of Washington-led team of national and international scholars presenting the results and recommendations of their in-depth research into the pay penalty experienced by anyone working in human services.  Their report, Wage Equity for Non-Profit Human Services Workers: A study of work and pay in Seattle and King County, found that nonprofit human services workers are paid 37% less than comparable workers in other sectors.

This research puts hard data behind the alarms our mission-critical nonprofit partners have been sounding since the pandemic began.

  • King County quicky purchased 10 hotels/apartment buildings to house people living unsheltered – but can’t open half of them due to workforce shortages.
  • The King County Regional Homelessness Authority has repeatedly told us that among its five largest contracted organizations, there are more than 300 vacant positions.
  • During public comment, nonprofit leaders testified that multiple childcare classrooms – including some for infants – are going empty because they can’t find staff to work for such low wages.

I can point to multiple instances in just the past year or two when Council has provided funding for essential, urgently needed work – such as responding to people in behavioral health crises or sheltering people living on the streets – that went unspent because providers were unable to hire staff.   The study was funded by a Council Budget Action I sponsored during the fall budget cycle in 2021, at the request of Seattle Human Services Coalition.  You can view the presentation materials and watch the presentation and discussion.

Fixing a 37% pay penalty is not easy, but the City – and all other public and private funding partners – must take immediate steps to increase wages for these essential workers.  I intend to draft a resolution endorsing the study recommendations and stating Council’s intent to increase human services worker wages by 7% over the next two years.   If you’d like to track this work, sign up to receive agendas for upcoming Public Safety & Human Services committee meetings here: Agenda Sign Up – Council | seattle.gov.

RapidRide H Line Service Begins Saturday, March 18

The RapidRide H Line will begin service on Saturday, March 18, replacing Route 120.

The H Line will bring additional weekday and weekend service and operate trips every 7 to 15 minutes on weekdays from 4:00 AM to Midnight and trips every 15 minutes on weekends from 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM.

I spoke at this morning’s ribbon-cutting event convened by King County to commemorate the start of service; my comments are below.

“Thank you. This is an important day for the Delridge neighborhoods. 

Bus ridership has always been strong along the H Line corridor, as many residents are transit dependent for access to jobs and services. Rapid Ride will bring more frequent and reliable service to the Delridge neighborhoods.

Route 120 carried 1.7 million riders in 2022 and is the sixth busiest route in King County. It has been one of the 10 busiest routes in the Metro system for several years. 

This project is a great example of collaboration between governments, to improve access for Delridge residents to the rest of the region. 

The vision for the H Line project began soon after the Sound Transit Board’s decision to select light rail to the Alaska Junction; Delridge had been the other option. Equity informed the decision to pursue the H Line Project. Delridge, especially the southern neighborhoods, has lower-income residents and a high BIPOC population.

State funding provided an early boost to get the project going.

The County has been adding bus service to this corridor in previous years, some funded by the Seattle Transit Measure. In previous years the City Council has adjusted the criteria for city-funded service to allow for additional service in this corridor. 

The H Line will tie into the Sound Transit light rail line. Once it is constructed, it will connect Delridge residents to the regional rail network. I appreciate the work the Sound Transit Board is doing to consider refinements for the Delridge station, to ensure quick connections between bus and rail.

I thank everyone here for their work on this multi-jurisdictional project and improving transit for residents of Delridge neighborhoods.”

The RapidRide H Line schedule is available here.

Urban Estuary Restoration at Vigor on Harbor Island

This spring Vigor will be completing 2.6 acres of new tidal estuary habitat on Harbor Island near the mouth of the Duwamish River. They are partnering with Long Live the Kings and the University of Washington Wetland Ecosystem team.

Here’s a video about how this work is proceeding.

This project is being done in partnership with scientists at Long Live the Kings and UW’s Wetland Ecosystem Team.  They are conducting pre- and post-restoration monitoring, to assess the food sources and habitat use of juvenile salmon in the new habitat.

Estuaries are critical habitats for young salmon, especially Chinook, to feed and grow as they begin their lives in the ocean. More than 97% of the Duwamish’s historic estuary has been lost to development. Vigor chose to take on this project to seek solutions for how industry and salmon can coexist.

Michigan Encampment Resolution

This week saw significant progress on resolving a longstanding encampment at SW Michigan and 1st Avenue South.  We received this update from the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCHRA):

I’m pleased to share with you that KCRHA and our partners at PDA, WSDOT, and the City have completed the work with individuals at the encampment located at SW Michigan and the 1st Avenue bridge. 

As of today, 30 individuals moved into shelter or emergency housing placements. Three individuals who have a shelter match have not been at the location for several days and their whereabouts are unknown. One individual declined services. One individual encountered issues when arriving at their referred shelter location, and that person is not at the program or the encampment. 

Postings were made at the location yesterday that camping and parking are no longer permitted on site, and intensive cleanup activity at the location will begin on Monday.

PDA above refers to “Purpose, Dignity, Action.” They design and implement new approaches to real problems that, in the past, were met with enforcement, prosecution and punishment, but respond better to the coordination and care strategies that their programs offer.  PDA is the project manager for successful, impactful programs like LEADCo-LEAD, and JustCARE.

You can read more about this effort: Homeless encampment in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood to be removed | KOMO (komonews.com).

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