West Seattle Bridge Update; Public Safety and Human Services Committee; Elder Abuse Awareness; Westcrest Dog Park Now Open!; Lifeguards Needed!; Community Involvement Commission; Scam Warning

West Seattle Bridge Update

Work Continues on the West Seattle Bridge Repair.

The final structural concrete pour is now curing, a 28-day process. While the concrete is curing, post-tensioning ducts in the south girder are being installed and the contractor and design engineer are finalizing the placement for the post-tensioning ducts in the north girder.  Once locations are confirmed, the contractor will place the steel cables that comprise the post-tensioning system through the ducts in the newly poured deviator and anchor blocks.  Once the ducts and steel cable are placed and after the concrete has cured, the cables will be tightened or “tensioned” to compress the concrete and strengthen it.  The post-tensioning work will update the bridge to current standards.

Tensioning will be followed by a final phase of carbon-fiber wrapping in the middle area of the end spans.

In addition, other work that will be completed before the bridge opens includes replacing and installing new overhead signs; restriping and cleaning up on-ramps at e.g. Delridge Way SW; replacing the concrete panels east of 35th Ave SW and sealing the concrete panel joints; installing a concrete overlay on the Fauntleroy Expressway (which leads to the bridge from 35th Ave SW), and other repaving. In addition, the external work platforms will need to be removed.

Some of the road changes made since the closure of the bridge will be changed when the bridge reopens. For example, the transit lane to the low bridge will be removed; when the West Seattle Bridge opens, the low bridge restrictions will be removed. In addition, signal timing that was adjusted after the closure of the bridge will need to be re-adjusted.

The additional investments in transit service will continue through spring 2023, as planned.

Public Safety and Human Services Committee

The Public Safety and Human Services Committee met on June 14th.

The committee meeting included a briefing from the Office of Emergency Management that reviewed the early response to the COVID pandemic, called the  COVID After Action Report, which was released in February. It reviews how the City responded, and measures strengths and areas where improvements can be made. Here’s a link to the Office of Emergency Management presentation.

Part of the City’s approach successfully used both a central site in SODO, as well as a neighborhood-based approach in West Seattle and Rainier Beach for tests and vaccinations. We successfully advocated for a West Seattle testing site, given the closure of the West Seattle Bridge; through September the West Seattle site had provided over 100,000 tests, roughly one per person in West Seattle:

The committee also heard a 1st quarter presentation on Seattle Police Department on budget and response times, which the Council requested in adopting the 2022 budget.

Overall SPD spent 96% of the 1st quarter adopted budget, slightly below the adopted budget. That said, 24% of the annual overtime budget was spent. While this is for 25% of the year,  summer has more events, so overtime spending is usually higher then. Last year, 17% of the overtime budget was spent during the first quarter. Central Staff indicated that SPD believes they can manage spending within the adopted overtime budget.

Overall overtime spending was above 2021, but below 2020. Criminal investigations overtime was higher than Q1 in 2021, but well below 2020.

80% of the miscellaneous category above is for emphasis patrols in for example Pike/Pine, 12th & Jackson, shots fired, and nightlife emphasis.

More overtime spending is dedicated to patrol in 2022 than during 2020 and 2021. This is necessary. But I am concerned that there are significantly fewer overtime hours – the difference from about 12,000 hours in first quarter 2020 to only 6,000 hours in 2022 – being devoted to investigations in 2022 as compared to 2020.

With additional events returning, and fewer officers available to staff those events, I continue to support shifting traffic control for events to Parking Enforcement Officers as much as possible. Some events overtime work can only be performed by sworn officers, but much of it can be done by Parking Enforcement Officers.  I think it’s better to have officer overtime focus on work only they can do.

Overtime tracking systems are something the media reports on from time to time. I’ve been in touch with SPD and the City Auditor about the implementation of the Auditor’s 2016 recommendations. Key to this was the Work, Scheduling, and Timekeeping project the Council funded to update and modernize overtime tracking, which has been delayed; I’ll be following up with SPD about that.  The City Auditor recently let me know that SPD has not performed auditing of overtime and off-duty work, though the SPD Payroll unit does do spot checks to ensure policies and procedures are being followed.  In April a person was hired to assist with audits to identify SPD employees claiming over 24 hours worked in one workday, hours that appear as duplicate OT payments, and hours that are either under or over 80 hours/pay period.

The presentation notes that $2 million in the Discretionary Purchases line item are encumbered (beyond spending listed in Q1), or 58% of the 2022 budget.

SPD has $4.5 million in the Budget Control Level (BCL) for discretionary purchases; they have $1.5 million remaining in the discretionary purchases BCL.  In addition, SPD has the authority to move a sum of funds like $25k between Budget Summary Levels (BSLs) without authorization.  Some recent reports that the Police Foundation was fundraising to fix a Harbor Patrol boat failed to include this information about the availability of SPD funding that could have been made available for this purpose.  SPD reports to me that they did not deny a request to fix the boat.

Response times in Q1 were higher than SPD’s goal of responding to Priority 1 calls within 7 minutes. The median response time citywide is 7.34 minutes (median is the midpoint of responses). The average response time was 10.37 minutes.

This highlights the importance of the ongoing analysis of 911 call types SPD is engaging in, to see which calls could receive a non-sworn officer response and, in doing so, improve the response times for the Priority 1 calls to which only SPD can respond. The next committee update on this effort is scheduled for June 28th.

Elder Abuse Awareness

June 15th was Elder Abuse Awareness Day. I was proud to sponsor a proclamation with Mayor Harrell calling on the people of Seattle to increase awareness of elder abuse issues, support community connections for older people that reduce the likelihood of abuse and learn the signs that abuse may be occurring.

Elder abuse is both widespread and underreported. Confidential and professional resources for abused elders are available by calling 1-866-EndHarm (1-866-363-4276).

Westcrest Dog Park Now Open!

Last Friday, Seattle Parks & Recreation announced they were opening Westcrest Off-Leash Area by the end of the day.  I’ve heard from many dog lovers who were anxious for the drainage and accessibility projects to be completed so that their furry friends could once again enjoy running free.

The announcement also says a few projects will be completed after reopening due to shipment delays and construction sequence:

  • Installation of (1) new accessible picnic table. The contractor will close off individual areas to install the benches once they arrive.
  • Restoration of the temporary off-leash area near p-patch. Fencing around this area will stay up for the contractor to restore this area with soil amendment, hydroseed and allow for lawn establishment.

 We have also kept temporary fencing around two newly seeded lawn areas in the main off-leash area for lawn establishment. Fencing will be taken down once the lawn has established vigorous growth.

I hope to see many furry friends enjoying the newly-reopened Westcrest Off-Leash Area over the weekend!

Lifeguards Needed!

Do you know someone looking for a summer job?  Seattle Parks & Recreation is working hard to recruit, train, and hire more lifeguards and wading pool attendants so that they can offer aquatic fun this summer. Please share these lifeguard job opportunities with your networks.

If you’re ready for some water fun, find information about pools, beaches, spray parks, boat ramps, and wading pools here:  Seattle Parks and Recreation announces Summer 2022 Aquatic Programming  – Parkways.

Community Involvement Commission

The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods (DONS) is currently recruiting to fill seven vacancies on the Community Involvement Commission (CIC). Current vacancies include positions representing City Council Districts 1, 2, 3, and 7, as well as three at-large positions.

The Community Involvement Commission advises the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and other City departments on coordinated, citywide outreach and engagement activities. The commission is dedicated to holding the City accountable for increasing participation and engagement – especially among communities that have been historically marginalized and underserved.

Those interested in being considered should complete the online application by Sunday, July 10 at 5 p.m.   Within the application page, it is necessary to click the dropdown and select Community Involvement Commission under “Which Boards would you like to apply for?”

Scam Warning

As Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities work to inform customers about resources available to help with utility bills, there has been an increase in scam reports of people posing as representatives of the City.

Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities will not call customers to demand immediate payment or personal financial information. If someone calls demanding payment rather than working with you to establish a payment plan, that is a scam. Customers who believe they’ve been contacted by a scammer should call (206) 684-3000 to verify their account.

If you or someone you know is behind on utility bills, please know that resources are available. Learn more about short- and long-term payment plans available to all customers. Income-eligible residential customers may also qualify for bill assistance programs.

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