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West Seattle Bridge Update, November 6; Budget Update; Proposal to Redefine the Terms “duress” and “de minimis”; Increased Funds and an Agreement on Encampment Management; Cooper Legacy Award for Affordable Homeownership; Age Friendly Forums for LGBTQ+2S Seniors;

West Seattle Bridge Update November 6

Next Monday morning SDOT will update the City Council on the West Seattle Bridge at the Council Briefings meeting, scheduled for 9:30 a.m.

After the recommendations from members of the Community Task Force last week, the decision on whether to repair or replace the bridge is in the Mayor’s hands.

SDOT reached a key milestone this week when they released the damaged bearings at Pier 18, one of the bridge’s four main support structures. SDOT notes:

“Imagine you have a bad back. There’s a tightness there, and you don’t know where it came from. All you know is that you need to release the stress to find relief. For the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge, a similar kind of relief came this week, as crews released damaged bearings on Pier 18.”

The lateral bearings allow the bridge to move in response to traffic, temperature changes, or even earthquakes. The bearings at Pier 18 were compressed and bulging, locking together two parts of the bridge which are normally independent, so the bridge couldn’t move as it should, creating additional pressure and affecting the bridge as a whole.

SDOT’s blog post about this has additional detail.

Below are photos showing recent bridge stabilization work and post-tensioning work, from earlier this week. Now that the bearing has been released, SDOT can perform the final 100% stressing of the post-tensioning system, and begin the final phase of carbon fiber exterior girder strengthening.

Here are the most recent traffic numbers:

Here are the most recent vehicle travel times:

This chart shows recent vehicle traffic on the lower bridge:


This Week in the Budget

Last week the Budget Committee met to consider Council Budget Actions and Statements of Legislative Intent developed by Councilmembers. The Budget Committee has not met this week.

This week Budget Chair Mosqueda is considering the more than 120 budget actions proposed by Councilmembers, and is developing a balancing package. The balancing package will be presented in the Budget Committee on November 10th. After that, Councilmembers can propose changes via amendment by November 12th at 5 p.m.; any proposals must be “self-balancing.”  “Self-balancing” means that the sponsor for the budget proposal must also identify a cut from the Chair’s balancing package to be permitted to make the proposal.

The following week, the Budget Committee will cast votes on the Chair’s balancing package and any amendments. Those meetings are scheduled for November 18th and 19th, with a Full Council vote planned for November 23rd.

You can view or download the full Select Budget Committee meeting calendar here.  Sign up to receive Select Budget Committee agendas by email here.

Public comment will be taken at the start of each meeting at 9:30 a.m. You can register to give comment on this page. The signup form is available two hours before each session begins.

COVID Update

Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released a statewide situation report on COVID-19 transmission last week, which shows coronavirus transmission is increasing throughout Washington. The best estimates of the reproductive number (how many new people each COVID-19 patient will infect) were 1.34 in western Washington and 1.12 in eastern Washington as of October 10. The goal is a number well below one, which would mean COVID-19 transmission is declining.

Here are the number of daily positive tests in Seattle since September:

On top of being widely distributed geographically, case counts in western Washington have been increasing in all age groups since mid-September. This suggests that no single transmission route is driving rising trends, and COVID-19 burden is widely dispersed across the population. Growth in cases is particularly pronounced in the 25 to 39 and 40 to 59 age groups.

We can all take steps to protect our friends, families and communities:

  • wear a mask around people you don’t live with (even close friends and family)
  • limit the number, size and frequency of gatherings
  • wash your hands frequently
  • get your flu shot
  • stay home if you’re sick.

If you do choose to gather with others, there are steps you can take to reduce risk.  Get tips for safer gatherings and ideas for alternative celebrations at coronavirus.wa.gov/gatherings.  And check out this 2-minute video from Public Health – Seattle King County about staying safe while gathering with friends and loved ones.

Help managing stress:  If you or anyone you know is struggling to manage stress from COVID-19, call the Washington Listens support line at 1-833-681-0211. Call 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

How to get help with health insurance in King County:  King County’s health insurance Navigators are once again offering personal help with the enrollment process through Washington Healthplanfinder — with special adaptations to protect against COVID-19.

  • Online: Coverage is Here King County website: Answers to basic questions, plus locations and dates for in-person assistance
  • Online: Washington Healthplanfinder website and app: It’s easy to browse specific options, compare pricing, and see whether a key provider or prescription is covered
  • Phone: King County hotline for health access and insurance questions: 800-756-5437
  • Phone: Washington Healthplanfinder: 855-923-4633
  • Email: Chap@Kingcounty.gov
  • Enrollment Centers: These sites are open several days each week to help people enroll.
    • Public Health-Seattle Metro Service Center, 201 S. Jackson, Seattle 98104 (November hours: Mon./Wed./Thurs. 10:00-4:00)
    • Public Health-Federal Way Enrollment Center, 1640 S. 318th P, Suite B, Federal Way 98003 (November hours: Mon./Tues./Thurs. 10:00-6:00; Wed. 11:00-8:00; Sat. 10:00-3:00)

Why is it important to get a flu shot this year? Getting a flu shot will make it easier for you and your primary care provider to decide how to treat any viral infection this winter. There is a lot of overlap between flu symptoms and early COVID-19 symptoms. If you have any symptoms and you have had the flu vaccine, that will be useful information to help decide on the best course of testing and treatment for you.

Select Safeway locations are offering free flu vaccine for uninsured adults, open to uninsured adults over the age of 18. No fee and no proof of residency or immigration status required.  Find a participating location here

New Expanded Roles for Accountability Partners in Bargaining Police Contracts

Earlier this week Mayor Durkan and I announced new, expanded roles for accountability agencies in bargaining police contracts. For the first time, a community representative from the Community Police Commission will have a role in the bargaining process.

In the upcoming contract negotiations with the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG) and the Seattle Police Management Association (SPMA), a City Council representative will be at the bargaining table and Office of Police Accountability Director Andrew Myerberg, Inspector General Lisa Judge, and a member of the Community Police Commission will serve as bargaining advisors.

I noted in the announcement “This new role for the Community Police Commission is an important step in our collective efforts toward greater police accountability. Several items in the 2017 accountability legislation adopted by the Council, but not included in the last SPOG contract, require bargaining. All hands on deck with our three accountability bodies helping advise the City in the next bargaining round is critical,” said Councilmember Herbold (District 1, West Seattle/South Park). “In addition, having a City Council representative at the table will greatly enhance the ongoing knowledge of Councilmembers serving on the Labor Relations Policy Committee. I appreciate Mayor Durkan’s collaboration in making these significant improvements to the bargaining process.”

The existing contract with SPOG is set to expire on December 31, 2020, and the contract with SPMA expired on December 31, 2019. At upcoming negotiations, a City Council representative will sit at the bargaining table, alongside members of the City’s Labor Relations unit and the Seattle Police Department. Office of Police Accountability (OPA) Director Andrew Myerberg, Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Inspector General Lisa Judge, and Community Police Commission (CPC) member Suzette Dickerson will now serve as bargaining advisors to the City. Their role will be to provide input to the Labor Relations Policy Committee (LRPC) on bargaining parameters and strategy. They will be available upon request of the Labor Relations Director to attend bargaining sessions and provide feedback on contract proposals. Once the contract negotiations are complete and contracts are ratified by the union members and the City Council, the accountability partners and the City Council representative will provide input into the first public report that will be issued by the Labor Relations Director.

There was no formal City Council staff representation in previous contract negotiations with SPOG and SPMA, and only Mayor’s Office, Seattle Police Department, and Labor Relations representatives were at the table with the unions. While the OPA served as a bargaining advisor previously, the CPC did not, and the CPC never participated in LRPC meetings. The civilian-led accountability partners have distinct and independent roles: The OPA investigates allegations of misconduct by SPD employees; the OIG evaluates the department’s policies and practices to identify systemic issues and propose changes; and the CPC represents the community’s voice and provides community input on policing.

Proposition 1 Passage Great News for District 1

On Tuesday, Seattle voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 1 with 81% of the vote on election day. Here’s the statement I released after the vote:

“Today’s vote in support of Proposition 1 for transit funding is good news for West Seattle.  Proposition 1 specifies that up to $9 million annually to support mobility needs related to the closure of the West Seattle Bridge, and COVID-19 response and recovery.

“With the West Seattle Bridge closed through at least 2022, traffic and access issues will only increase once social distancing ends or decreases. Transit service will be critical to meeting the ambitious goals of SDOT’s Reconnect West Seattle plan.

“The ballot measure notes Investments could include, in addition to  transit service, speed and reliability improvements, first-last mile transit connections, and Transportation Demand Management strategies described in the community-driven Reconnect West Seattle plan.”

During Council deliberations in July I supported increasing the size of the measure from the Mayor’s original 0.1% sales tax proposal, to 0.15%. I proposed an amendment the Council adopted increasing the amount available for mitigating the closure of the West Seattle Bridge and COVID-19 response to $9 million annually.

I also sponsored an amendment to increase equity. Without this amendment the criteria for service would not allow for funding routes such as the 131, 128 and 113 in Highland Park and South Delridge, or the 132 in South Park, because of the number of stops they have outside Seattle. The amendment adds as eligible routes “any King County Metro route serving historically low-income communities in Seattle.” The Council also adopted this.

Seattle University 6th Annual Citywide Public Safety Survey

Seattle University is administering the 6th annual citywide Seattle Public Safety Survey, which is open  through November 30th and is available in Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, English, Korean, Oromo, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tigrinya and Vietnamese. The purpose of the survey is to solicit feedback on public safety and security concerns from those who live and/or work in Seattle Results are provided to the Seattle Police Department.

Results of previous surveys, and the survey, are available at the Seattle Police Department’s Micro-Community Policing Plan website.

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