Land Use Legislation // Ballard Commons Update // Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade Postponed // “Drive-Thru” Farmers Market // COVID-19 Updates and Resources


As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic I would like to update you on emerging issues, update you on how we’re addressing the pandemic, how we can support each other and our small businesses, and how I can help you.

In this week’s newsletter we begin with information from City Council, district updates, news from around the city, and in the second half we have included additional and continuing COVID-19 updates and resources. If you need help navigating these resources, please reach out to my office:

I remain humbled and honored to represent you. Please continue to contact our office if you need assistance on any matter.


At City Council

Land Use Legislation

On Monday, the City Council passed emergency legislation which I sponsored to allow urgently needed housing projects to continue forward with permitting during the COVID-19 emergency. Without action, many housing projects, including affordable housing projects, would have been severely delayed or lost entirely, exacerbating our housing crisis and costing jobs.

The legislation allows projects which would usually require a public meeting to instead be reviewed by City staff and take public comment online. These provisions will automatically end when meetings can resume in-person or virtually, or after six months. I look forward to no longer needing these changes, and until then, I am glad we took action to save housing and jobs.

I am grateful to Mayor Durkan or her leadership and to all of my fellow Councilmembers for their thorough review of the legislation. The two weeks it took to pass is a testament to how much we all care about getting things right in this difficult time.

Read more about this emergency legislation here.

Interested in Joining the King County Regional Homelessness Authority?

The Seattle City Council is currently seeking applicants their two appointments to the implementation board of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority.  The implementation board conducts operations and management of all Authority affairs.

The council will be accepting materials from individuals interested in serving on the Implementation Board until close of business May 11th.

The application can be found here.

In District 6

Ballard Commons Update

Since my first days in office, and long before the COVID-19 pandemic OR the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, I have been working to address the situation in and around Ballard Commons Park. City Councilmembers do not have direct control of City Departments as they report directly to the Mayor and I have used every tool available to me in my Legislative role to call attention to the urgent needs in and around the park.

As a result of my daily conversations with the Mayor’s office, the Mayor has focused City resources on Ballard Commons Park including moving 17 people out of the park into 24/7 enhanced shelter, and increasing police presence in the area. For more information on how the City is responding please read my blog for an in-depth update. 

As we move out of this crisis I remain committed to create long-term solutions that address the roots of the issues we are experiencing. We must act urgently to address social service gaps, and interventions in problematic behavior.

Office Hours

My commitment to hosting district office hours every week continues! We have  appointments available each week and with the current public health situation, I am hosting telephone district office hours.

I would love to talk to you and if you would like to meet please sign up online here. Please note: In order to respect constituents’ time, everyone requesting a meeting during office hours will need to schedule ahead of time.

Constituent Meeting with a Seattle Musician

I have not allowed the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order to interfere with my ability to meet with constituents about a variety of issues, both involving and not involving COVID. I had a great meeting last week with a constituent named Lori and would like to share with you what she is working on.

Lori has been advocating for some time (well before COVID) for improved working conditions for our local musicians. Lori told me about the sub-minimum wages that musicians are often forced to live off. Despite Seattle’s rich musical history, musicians have been increasingly squeezed by reduced payouts from venues and other institutions over the past few years. Without representation for working artists, it has become more and more difficult for musicians to justify staying in the city. Many musicians have already moved away seeking a place where they can survive as a professional musician.

Lori explained that Seattle has an extremely low median musician income of $12.05 per hour. The lack of concerts due to the COVID outbreak has worsened an already difficult situation. Lori fears that as music venues push for grants that will allow them to reopen when the stay at home order is lifted, there will not be similar aid given to help the struggling musicians who fill those venues.

Bongos Cafe, Resilience during COVID

A few weeks back I had the chance to talk with Dan, the owner of Bongos Cafe.  Bongos Cafe, a small Greenlake restaurant serving Caribbean food and amazing hot sauces imported all the way from Costa Rica, has been a shining example of how to adapt to changing community needs. Since March, the Bongos Family has been working to keep their facilities spotless and up to the changing health code. They moved quickly to partner with food delivery services as they reverted to exclusively takeout and delivery service, and continue to be open from 11-8 Wednesday through Sunday.

Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade Postponed

Unfortunately both the Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade have been postponed until 2021. The Fremont Chamber of Commerce has cancelled these two events in order to continue combating the spread of COVID-19. “Now more than ever, we must do our part to remain vigilant in protecting our local and global community.”

“Drive-Thru” Farmers Market

I am excited to say that the Ballard Farmers Markets has reopened with the approval of the Public Health Department and the Mayor. Over the past few weeks I have been working with Seattle King County Public Health and the Mayor’s Office to reopen our Farmers Markets in a safe way. Farmers markets are a vital resource in our communities that allow community members to support their local farmers and artisans.

The Market has revised its operations into a Drive-Thru Farmers Market with limited walk-up customers, and very strict health, safety and sanitation guidelines. Please read the Ballard Farmers Market FAQ about how the market will work.

Measures include:

  • No sampling, no selling ready-to-eat food, no refilling reusable containers
  • Limiting the number of shoppers in the market at one time
  • Segregation of money/market currency and food handling
  • All vendors and staff must wear protective gloves and ensure regular and proper handwashing
  • Increasing distance between vendor booths
  • Increased safety signage

Seattle Farmers Market Association (SFMA) staff will be assigned to conduct regular and ongoing checks for handwashing stations, sanitizing supplies in addition to our regular food safety controls

Furthermore, in order to keep the market as safe as possible, the Seattle Farmers Market Association are asking you to follow these guidelines:

  • STAY HOME if you are sick or if I have been in contact with someone who is sick.
  • Make a shopping list before visiting the market.
  • Pre-order and prepay vendors if possible.
  • Designate one shopper per household.
  • Leave your pet at home unless it is a service dog.
  • Not touch products, but instead, ask a vendor for what you would like.
  • Maintain 6 feet of space at all times.
  • Shop quickly and efficiently – 10 minutes or less
  • Use the provided hand sanitizer and handwashing stations at the market.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, and face in general.
  • Wear a face mask if you have one available.

Let’s support our local artisans in a safe and respectful way!

You can pre-order from vendors here and more information can be found here.

Please note that the Fremont Sunday Market is postponed until May 17th.

Around the City

Stay Healthy Streets 

SDOT just announced the opening of 11 more miles of Stay Healthy Streets. This along with the addition of 6 miles last week brings the total distance of Stay Healthy Streets to 20 miles which build off Seattle’s 196 miles of existing trails. These roads are closed to through traffic to allow for safe social distancing while walking, rolling, running, skating and biking. There are new Stay Healthy Streets in Greenwood, Ballard, and Green Lake as well as in several other neighborhoods throughout the city. I am grateful to SDOT for helping us take advantage of the outdoors while maintaining safe distance.

While outside, please remember to adhere to keep it moving guidelines:

  • Stay Home. If you need to leave the house, visit your neighborhood park.
  • Keep it Moving. Keep walking, running, or biking. That means no picnics, no BBQs, no sports, no gatherings at our parks.
  • Visit parks, greenways and farmers markets at off peak hours
  • If you see a crowd, go somewhere else

West Seattle Bridge Closure

The West Seattle Bridge closed on March 23rd after inspectors found rapidly growing cracks along the center section of the bridge. After assessing the damage, SDOT announced that the bridge would not reopen until at least 2022. SDOT is currently working to stabilize the bridge. Engineers are also in the process of determining if the bridge is worth salvaging and by spring should know whether the bridge needs to be replaced sooner than later. Any fix would likely only prolong the bridge’s life for another 10 years.

The Council has been in contact with director Sam Zimbabwe and SDOT about how to proceed with fixing or replacing the bridge. In the meantime, travel to and from West Seattle will be rerouted via the 1st Ave. S Bridge. The low bridge is reserved for transit and emergency needs. SDOT is continuing to work to reduce traffic and wait times. More information can be found on the SDOT Blog.

COVID-19 Updates and Resources

Governor Inslee has extended the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order through May 31st. At that time, businesses will be able to reopen in four phases while modifying physical distancing measures. Phases slowly relax restrictions on outdoor recreation, gatherings, travel and businesses. Each phase will last for a minimum of 3 weeks, though some counties with lower numbers of cases and deaths may be able to open parts of their economy sooner if approved by the Department of Health. The Governor is relying on science to tell us when we can reopen.

Read more about the Governor’s plan to reopen the state here. The reopening process is in sight but we must make sure to follow guidelines in order to make this transition effective and safe. In the meantime, continue to socially distance, stay home, and stay healthy.

Ballard Food Bank – Operation Change

The Ballard Food Bank has changed its operations to ensure neighbors from northwest Seattle can safely access food. Please check their website ( prior to visiting for the most updated hours and available services. The food bank has shifted from its grocery style shopping model to pre-packed bags of perishable and non-perishable items. Please note the following services and ways to access:

  • Home Delivery Tues/Wed/Thurs: The food bank is temporarily expanding their home delivery program. Food will be dropped off at your front door. To sign up for this program enroll here. This is the preferred method of sign-up. Or you can call the food bank at 206-789-7800 ext. 7. Please note, you only need to sign up once and then deliveries will happen weekly. The food bank will call you the day before your delivery to let you know the delivery window.
  • Drive Thru Food Bank Mon/Wed/Thurs: The food bank is open to visits once per week. They are using the Café Mox parking lot next to the food bank. Cars will enter from Leary into the lot. They will join a car queue and when it’s their turn, volunteers will load a pre-packed food box into their trunk or car without requiring person to person contact. Neighbors will have the choice of protein, dairy, milk and eggs. Please stay in your car and do not park.
  • No-Cook Bags/Groceries: The food bank continues to offer no-cook bags/groceries to our neighbors who are homeless every day they are open. These will be offered at the side door of the food bank on NW Ione Place.
  • Mail & Sandwiches: Mail and sandwiches will be offered at the front door during open hours.
  • Weekend Food For Kids: For families receiving a Weekend Food for Kids bag please come to the front door, or if you are driving through for groceries, you may ask for a Weekend Food For Kids bag. Please show us your voucher.
  • Community Resource Hub: The food bank’s financial assistance for eviction and utilities will be available by phone or email. You may call 206-789-7800 extension 2 or email Nathaniel at  Vouchers for ID and licenses are not available at this time.

Grant Programs

The Plate Fund is providing immediate financial assistance to restaurant-industry workers who have been hit hard in King County. While our goal is to help as many people as possible, priority is given to applicants most in need, and the order applications are received.

Facebook’s Small Business Grant

Facebook is offering $4000 grants to recipients in the US ($2500 cash, $1500 in optional ads credits) to help during this challenging time. To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • Be a for-profit company
  • Have between 2 and 50 employees
  • Have been in business for over a year
  • Have experienced challenges from COVID-19
  • Be in or near a location where Facebook operates

Visit their website for more information and to apply.

Continuing Resources

Here we have compiled a list of resources that we’ve sent out. If you need any help navigating these resources please let us know.

General COVID Information and resources:

Ways to report non-compliance with the Stay at Home order:
DO NOT CALL 911 to report a Stay Home, Stay Healthy violation.

Use the following resources instead:

Resources to help small, local businesses:

Additional Resources:

Puget Sound Energy Bill Assistance

Puget Sound Energy is making $11 million available to help customers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 through its Crisis-Affected Customer Assistance Program (CACAP). Funds will help customers who recently became unemployed, partially unemployed, or cannot work.

Funds are also available in PSE’s other assistance programs, including the Warm Home Fund, PSE Home Energy Lifeline Program and Weatherization Assistance Program for income-eligible customers.

Metro & Sound Transit – More Reductions

If you need help navigating these resources, please reach out to my office: