West Seattle Bridge Update November 13th; This Week in the Budget; $10,000 Small Business Stabilization Fund Grants – Applications Due 11/30; African American Caregivers Forum on Saturday 11/14; Free Legal Clinic for Undocumented Immigrants; 34th Legislative District Town Hall

West Seattle Bridge Update November 13th

(photo: Mike Lindblom)

On Monday, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) joined the City Council at the weekly Council Briefing meeting in order to update Councilmembers about the status of the West Seattle Bridge. In addition to providing a briefing about the physical work being done to stabilize the bridge, SDOT brought Councilmembers up to speed about the Mayor’s impending decision to repair or replace the bridge, the Reconnect West Seattle mitigation program for communities most impacted by the bridge detours routes, and related news.

Here’s a link to the presentation.

SDOT noted they are advancing both repair and replace pathways. For replace, this entails a “Type, Size, and Location” study to design options included in the Cost Benefit Analysis and to bring that design work to 30% of a complete design. This allow SDOT to provide a sound basis for cost estimates. This is estimated to take 3 months. For repair, it entails a two-month study, to provide more in-depth analysis of bridge performance that would be a likely outcome of a repair, including monitoring reaction of the bridge to colder weather.

SDOT noted they are not yet at a divergence of different pathways, and won’t be until May or June. That means that work can continue on both repair and replace pathways without delaying the timeline for either option. With work on both continuing, SDOT has explained that the Mayor’s impending decision for repair or replace will be more along the lines of a “preferred alternative”,  as is commonly used in Environmental Impact Statements.  In other words, it allows the City to name a preferred pathway while preserving the ability to continue to consider a less preferred pathway.

This is important; what could be a lengthy consideration of a rapid replacement, if that’s the “preferred alternative,” should not delay a potentially high performing repair that could be done quickly.

SDOT notes that numerous inputs will inform the decision to repair or replace:

Here’s a chart comparing the alternatives, which includes the “rapid replacement” option. SDOT emphasizes these are rough order of magnitude estimates, compared to the cost estimates that will result from additional study and design:

Below are spending estimates for different aspects of work for the West Seattle Bridge and related projects:

memo by RHC Engineering, the City Council’s engineering consultant, notes the following regarding the cost/benefit analysis (Alternative 2 is repair, Alternative 4 is Superstructure replacement):

“In general, RHC Engineering believes that additional engineering analysis could be undertaken to better capture the existing bridge behavior and quantify the risks and benefits related to Alternative 2. The CBA attempts to compare all alternatives using a consistent approach to risk and contingencies, this approach may mischaracterize the costs and benefits of Alternative 2. Unlike Alternative 4 that relies on a planning level concept, there is significant existing information, including original construction drawings, bridge inspection and health monitoring data, load rating and seismic evaluation, and the stabilization work, to support a refined engineering analysis for Alternative 2. 

Further analysis has the potential to address risk factors associated with repair, which could affect the cost and performance assessment of Alternative 2, when compared to Alternative 4. As an example of this clarification of risk, SDOT has progressively found that the bridge is technically repairable, and the bridge foundation is solid under a design earthquake event.”

It further notes:

“Alternative 4 seems to have more uncertainties, with a completely new engineering design, permit and regulations compliance, demolition and new construction period. This could result in the public facing a more prolonged traffic closure than under a repair scenario.”

The “rapid replacement” option SDOT announced in October was not included in the cost/benefit analysis.  It is a potential approach within alternative 4 that SDOT notes will be studied in greater detail in the Type, Size, and Location study.

Post-tensioning work completed:

After SDOT completed release of the Pier 18 bearing, they completed post-tensioning work for stabilizing the West Seattle Bridge. This helps prevents further cracking of the bridge.

Post tensioning strands run inside the girders between the piers:

Here’s a photo that shows most of the post-tensioning strands at 10% strength, with the one on the right  tightened, before the release of the bearing:

Here’s what the strands look like at 100% tightening.

The next step in stabilizing the bridge is to complete carbon fiber wrapping of the girders.

And here’s SDOT’s video showing the bridge stabilization and monitoring work:


Here is the most recent traffic data:

Here are the most recent travel times:

This Week in the Budget

The balancing package focuses on the key areas of economic recovery; health and safety; and housing. It incorporates changes sponsored by Councilmembers. Below are actions I sponsored that are included in the balancing package:

Provide funding to a. reverse cut of Fire exams and b. reverse cut of 20 firefighters from SFD recruit class:  This budget action would allow the Seattle Fire Department to maintain current hiring and testing capacity. The hiring freeze instituted by the Mayor only effects civilian employees and therefore the SFD should maintain its ability to test and recruit new firefighters. The SFD has recently seen an increase in firefighter separations, and If the same attrition pattern on average over the last five years (38 separations) continues in 2021, SFD could have 75 vacancies with an additional 412 eligible for retirement.

Add funding to the Fire Department to fund Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), Lucas Devices, and Ballistic Sets: AEDs are used to provide an electrical shock in cases of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias which lead to sudden cardiac arrest. Lucas Devices provide chest compressions (CPR) when it is unsafe for Emergency Medical System crews to do so. Ballistic Sets protect firefighters and paramedics at scenes of violence and allow them to quickly enter these scenes to rescue highly vulnerable patients.

The role of parking enforcement officers:  Expand the function of the proposed Seattle Emergency Communications Center to include Parking Enforcement Officers (PEOs) and rename the office the Seattle Community Safety and Communications Center (CSCC). Consider expanding the current role of the PEOs to assume functions currently provided by SPD sworn officers, which could include red light camera enforcement, school zone enforcement, response to non-injury collisions, response to and reporting on minor thefts and car break-ins, and traffic control.

SPD Overtime and staffing tracking: These actions request SPD to report to the Council monthly on use of overtime, and staffing levels.

SPD Budget: These actions reintroduce reductions to the SPD budget adopted in the 2020 summer budget rebalancing, including proposals for out of order layoff reductions in sworn officers and reduction of overtime and travel. Those dollars would be invested into community-led public safety investments.

South Park Public Safety Coordinator: This will continue the work of the South Park Public Safety Coordinator. This position was the top priority recommendation in the 2017 South Park Public Safety Taskforce Report funded by the City Council. Current priorities include facilitating community safety dialogue around South Park’s experience around policing and alternatives to police in South Park; street and safety concerns due to West Seattle Bridge closure, business district concerns, and youth engagement. Recent work includes coordinating Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) work in youth art murals and a Clean Streets Initiative, community support during COVID, neighborhood walks, and facilitating and distributing a neighborhood newsletter in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.  Here is a great article about his work.

West Seattle Bridge/Reconnect West Seattle: Require reporting for the West Seattle Bridge/Reconnect West Seattle program, SDOT’s mitigation program to fund project that ameliorate impacts of West Seattle detours routes on communities like Highland Park and South Park.

Provide Funding for Landlord Liaison Program: fully fund a landlord liaison program that has connected 1,170 individuals to housing by establishing partnerships of landlords that own more than 470 properties.

Add Funds to Maintain Family Rapid Rehousing Caseloads: Due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, homelessness services agencies report that households enrolled in rapid re-housing programs have required substantially longer to exit the program.   This increases funding to ensure families do not fall back into homelessness, with half of the funds reserved for agencies with culturally-relevant expertise or serving populations disproportionately affected by homelessness.

Age Friendly Seattle: Restore proposed cuts to Age Friendly Seattle.

Community-Led Public Safety Investments: Appropriate funds for scaling up community-led organizations, to move the City’s community safety strategy toward a public health-centered, harm reduction model of restorative justice, crime prevention, and ameliorating the harm caused by the criminal legal system to individuals and communities most impacted. These strategies should aim to prevent, reduce and mitigate both violent and non-violent crime.

Reduce Overdoses and Overdose Deaths: Add funding to contract with Public Health for services recommended by the 2016 Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force for active drug users in existing low barrier programs with the goal to reduce overdoes and fatal overdoses as well as increase the health of people who use substances.

Increase Services for Drug Users: Increase services and harm reduction programs at social service agencies that serve people who use drugs daily, allowing them to expand hours, increase staff, expand to additional locations, provide peer and community outreach, implement good neighbor agreements for syringe pickup, provide participant incentives, explore Medicaid reimbursement for services, and make safety improvements.

Restore Funds for Alternatives to Criminal Legal System: Restore funds proposed for reduction to organizations pursuing alternatives to or addressing harms caused by the criminal legal system that were awarded grant funding through the 2020 Collaborative Grantmaking process.

Increase Outreach to People Experiencing Homelessness: Expand homelessness outreach and engagement services within District 1 and citywide, and provide flexible financial assistance for serving people experiencing unsheltered homelessness.

Last week the Council received an updated revenue forecast for 2021. The forecast contains higher estimates for the B&O and sales tax. However, the estimates are still well below pre-COVID revenue projections.

The Budget Committee is scheduled to take votes on the 18th and 19th, with a Full Council vote on the budget on November 23rd.

Councilmembers may propose amendments to the balancing package at the meetings on the 18th and 19th;  the deadline to submit “Form C” documents with amendments was Thursday the 12th. Any amendments must be revenue-neutral, and keep the budget in balance.

One element of the balancing package, proposed by Budget Chair Mosqueda, that hasn’t received much attention, is the increase in the amount in the Emergency Fund by $32 million, to $38 million. Given the course of COVID-19 and economic uncertainty heading in to 2021, this is a good precaution.

$10,000 Small Business Stabilization Fund Grants – Applications Due 11/30

Applications are due on November 30th for the City of Seattle’s new $4 million round of small business stabilization fund (SBSF) grants.  To date, OED has assisted 469 small businesses through several rounds of funding this year.  For this round, OED will host two informational webinars on how to successfully apply for the SBSF – click a date to register:

To be eligible for a grant:

  • A small business or non-profit must have 25 or fewer employees, be located within Seattle city limits, and have an annual net revenue at or below $2 million.
  • Non-profits must explicitly provide economic opportunity supports through education programs and/or job training.

For more information on all eligibility requirements, visit OED’s website.

At least two-thirds of grant recipients will be selected from applications from businesses with five or fewer employees and from areas that are identified as high risk of displacement or highly disadvantaged. Those areas are determined by several socioeconomic factors to identify areas of the city that have been historically underserved and more likely to be disproportionally impacted by economic shocks.

This fund also aims to better support creative industry small businesses and workers and will specifically allocate 10 percent of all grants—or 24 grants—to creative industry small businesses.

To request in-language assistance or application assistance generally, a business owner can email oed@seattle.gov or call 206-684-8090 and leave a voice mail with the following information:

  • Your name
  • Phone number
  • The language you need in English
  • What support you need

African American Caregivers Forum on Saturday 11/14

Legacy of Love is an annual forum with a special focus on memory care. Learn from professionals as well as family caregivers who share their challenges and joys in caring for loved ones. Take away tips for talking with a loved one about their need for extra care; tips for screening and managing professional caregivers during the pandemic; tips for dealing with sundown syndrome; and resources for family caregivers throughout the region.

DATE: Saturday, November 14, 2020

TIME: 12 noon–2 p.m.

KEYNOTE: George Dicks, BA, GMHS, RCMHP—a geriatric mental health specialist at Harborview Mental Health Services for more than 35 years—will discuss “Caregiver Hope, Love, and Resiliency,” including his own experience as a family caregiver.

REGISTRATION: Pre-registration is encouraged but not required. To register, visit SurveyMonkey.com/r/LegacyOfLoveRegistration.

JOIN: A few minutes before event time, go to bit.ly/AgeFriendlyLive and click on the blue “Join Event Now” button.

INFO: For more information, e-mail Karen.Winston@seattle.gov or visit AgingKingCounty.org/LegacyOfLove.

Free Legal Clinic for Undocumented Immigrants

DACA remains legal for now. And despite the results of the 2020 election, advocates recommend that undocumented immigrants, current DACA-recipients, past DACA-recipients, and DACA-eligible individuals consult with an immigration attorney to explore potential options to apply for legal status. The organizations below are offering free legal help to qualified DACA recipients and undocumented immigrants, including consultations, screenings, and other legal assistance.

You can sign up for a free 45 to 60-minute online consultation with an AILA attorney, who can:

  • Screen you for potential forms of immigration relief and answer your questions, or
  • Review your completed DACA application packet before you submit.

Online clinic: Thursday, November 19, 4 PM – 7 PM: Sign up for one of the clinic timeslots here.
Additional Resources:

34th Legislative District Town Hall

On Wednesday, I’ll be joining host Senator Joe Nguyen as well as Representatives Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbon, and King County Councilmember Joe McDermott.

The town hall will begin with an introduction by each participant, move into a conversation about the issues facing Washington in the build up to 2021, and end with questions from the audience.

There will be time for live questions during the stream, but if you would like to submit a question ahead of time, please send an email to Courtney.James@leg.wa.gov.

You can RSVP to the event here, as well as watch it on Facebook or join on Zoom here.

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