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COVID Updates – New Eligibility, Vaccine Site Capacity, Testing in District 1; Working Washington Grants Applications Due April 9; Nantes Park Beautification & Nantes-Seattle Sister City Agreement; Help Build Community Safety in Seattle – Job Opening; Sound Transit Realignment Scenarios Update; Right to Counsel; SMC Partners with King County Municipal Courts to Resolve Outstanding Warrants

COVID Updates – New Eligibility, Vaccine Site Capacity, Testing in District 1

The big news this week is that many more people are now eligible to be vaccinated against COVID – and starting April 15, all adults will become eligible.

Vaccine supply is improving somewhat, but with so many more people now eligible and needing second doses, those searching for their first appointment will likely need some patience.

When you are eligible, where can you get vaccine?  Here are a few options:

Unused Vaccine Doses in West Seattle?  Several District 1 residents have wondered why the West Seattle vaccination site sometimes look empty during the day.  I asked the Mayor’s Office; here’s what we learned:

Q: Why would the site be open but unused on a weekday afternoon?

A: We understand that an observer could consider the site “unused” by a quick observation only, but that is not the case. Right now, due to supply, Rainier Beach and West Seattle administer around 196 first doses of the vaccine each day. The process of getting vaccinated at an SFD site is extremely quick: Check-in takes between three-five minutes, and the actual vaccination takes one minute. Then, the patient should wait in our observation area for 15 minutes, but they also have the option of waiting in their car. All that to say, because of vaccine supply, West Seattle is currently operating at around 13% capacity each day, and people move through the hub very quickly, which explains why it would look empty to an outside observer.

Q:  How many people is it possible to serve each week at the West Seattle site?

West Seattle has the capacity to administer 215 vaccinations per hour, or 1,500 vaccinations per day, amounting in 9,000 vaccinations per week.   Last week, we administered 2,520 doses at West Seattle.

Q: Is an apparently empty site an indication that vaccine doses are going unused?

A: No. We are using every single dose we receive. However, it does show that the City does not receive vaccine supply commensurate with our capacity. We continue to advocate for increased doses for the City, given the high capacity across all our sites, and the fact that we have nearly 50,000 active subscribers to our appointment notification list.

District 1 Covid Testing Locations:  Thanks to everyone who wrote to me with concerns about access to COVID testing sites in West Seattle.  Earlier this week, the City announced the testing site at 2801 SW Thistle would remain open at least through April 17 and possibly longer, as demand requires.

I am advocating with the Mayor’s Office to keep testing available at or near the SW Thistle location even beyond April 17th, since people are used to going there, and there are community connections with South Park.  The Mayor’s Office has promised to keep a testing kiosk in the area even after the SW Thistle location stops testing.

There are four free, public testing sites on the West Seattle peninsula.  Public Health – Seattle & King County hosts a webpage with lists of public testing locations.

Don Armeni Boat Ramp Curative KioskMake reservations online
 1222 Harbor Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116
Neighborcare Health at High Point – Call for appointment: (206) 461-6950
6020 35th Ave SE, Seattle, WA 98126
Sea Mar Community Health Centers at South Park – Call for appointment: (206) 762-3730
8720 14th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108
West Seattle Walk-up – Make reservations online or call (206) 684-2489.
2801 SW Thistle St., Seattle, WA 98126

Keep up precautions:  King County residents are doing a great job with masks – a recent UW study found that 89% of King County residents wore face coverings over the mouth and nose in public during the past four months.

If you’re planning on spending the April holidays with friends or family from another household, remember to keep practicing the 4 W’s. Whether you are fully vaccinated or not, these prevention measures will help to minimize risk. Learn more here.

Working Washington Grants Applications Due April 9

Working Washington Round 4 offers $240 million in grant relief funds to small for-profit businesses, especially those that were required to close due to public health and safety measures.  Learn more here and find translated information here.

Priorities for funding are:

  • Businesses required to close.
  • Businesses with lost revenue as a result of closure.
  • Businesses with added expenses to maintain safe operations.
  • Equitable distribution of grant funds across the state and to businesses owned and operated by historically disadvantaged individuals.

The technical support center can help navigate the application portal.

  • English: Call (855) 602-2722 or email commercegrants@submittable.com.
  • Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Russian, Amharic, Arabic and Tagalog: Call (206) 333-0720.

Nantes Park Beautification & Nantes-Seattle Sister City Agreement

I recently had the opportunity to record a greeting for Seattle’s French Fest participants in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Nantes-Seattle Sister City relationship.  Admiral’s Nantes Park will receive a facelift as part of the celebrations, including a paved loop walkway with embedded French art, temporary French art installations and student-submitted art tiles along the seat wall.   I’m excited to see the fun ideas that are under consideration for the renovation of Nantes Park this fall, which can be enjoyed by the entire District 1 community.

The project is led by the Seattle-Nantes Sister City Association(SNSCA) in partnership with the Admiral Neighborhood Association and funded by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, the City of Nantes, the West Seattle Garden Tour and volunteers.   More information can be found at www.seattle-nantes.org.

Help Build Community Safety in Seattle – Job Opening

The Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) is seeking a compassionate, innovative and experienced leader to serve as the first director of its new Safe and Thriving Communities Division.  The Division Director will be responsible for leading and resourcing the new division while working with stakeholders to develop a comprehensive plan for community safety investments.

The Division Director will be responsible for continuously reimagining how the division operates to provide effective service in a changing environment while centering BIPOC communities. This position has a social justice component that requires critical thinking through the lens of racial equity. Knowing the core principles of antiracism and grounding those principles in everyday work are required job skills and core values.

Learn more here and apply here.

Sound Transit Realignment Scenarios Update

Last week the Sound Transit Board heard an update about what the agency is calling “program realignment” scenarios for the ST3 program approved by voters in 2016. The ST3 program involves projects throughout the tri-county region included in the ST3 ballot measure, including light rail from Downtown to West Seattle.

In January, Sound Transit’s Board heard a briefing about reduced revenues resulting from the COVID pandemic and increased cost estimates.

The most recent presentation includes a number of scenarios based on four tiers, with differing impacts in delays on light rail to West Seattle, as well as for Ballard, the Graham Street station in south Seattle, and other ST3 projects.

The presentation lists potential realignment categories: Tier 1: Develop, Tier 2, Plan and Prepare, Tier 3 Plan, and Tier 4, Keep ready, and Suspend. The presentation then shows the schedule delay impact by the four tiers, based on whether new funding is available.

Senator Patty Murray is currently pursing $1.9 billion for Sound Transit projects, and President Biden has proposed the American Jobs Plan to invest $2 trillion in infrastructure.

Scenarios include Connect Centers, First Segments, Delay Parking, Equity + Phasing, Equity + Early Investments, Hybrid – Integrated Network, and Hybrid – Centers emphasis.

For West Seattle, some scenarios involve building to Delridge and to the Alaska Junction in different phases; some call for building directly to the Alaska Junction as originally planned, and one scenario involves building to SODO first, then to the Junction in a subsequent phase. Scenarios for Ballard are similarly phased, or done as originally planned.

Below is just one of the examples. It rates Delridge in Tier 1 (and the first phase of the Ballard line), and Delridge to the Alaska Junction in Tier 2, along with the rest of the Ballard line, and the Graham Street Station.

The potential schedule delay is listed below.  This scenario would result in reaching Delridge 2 years late with no new revenue, and the Alaska Junction 6 years late with no new revenue, or 2 years late with $4 billion additional revenue (with similar delays for the phases of the Ballard line):

Sound Transit has indicated that due to COVID, projects are delayed one year.

Here’s a link to the presentation, which includes the other scenarios.

Here are next steps planned by Sound Transit:

Right to Counsel

On Monday the Council took up CB 120007 – Right to Counsel for tenants facing eviction in court – and passed the legislation unanimously.

The legislation does not require a defendant to accept legal counsel for eviction defense, but that the City will provide funding for free representation if the individual has insufficient funds to retain counsel.  The legislation allows the provider of the legal services to determine and verify a tenant’s eligibility, in order to insure that there are no unnecessary barriers to representation.

The Losing Home Report, commissioned by my office in 2019 with the Seattle Women’s Commission and the Housing Justice  Project of the King County Bar Association, found that:

  • Twice as many tenants with legal counsel remained housed, compared to those without counsel.
  • Most evicted respondents became homeless, with 37.5% completely unsheltered, 25.0% living in a shelter or transitional housing, and 25.0% staying with family or friends. Only 12.5% of evicted respondents found another apartment or home to move into.
  • 7% of tenants in eviction filings were people of color; 31.2% were Black tenants, experiencing eviction at a rate 4.5 times what would be expected based on their demographics in Seattle.
  • Women were more likely to be evicted over small amounts of money: of single-tenant household cases where a tenant owed $100.00 or less, 81.0% were women.
  • Of evicted respondents with school-age children, 85.7% said their children had to move schools after the eviction, and 87.5% reported their children’s school performance suffered “very much” because of the eviction.

This legislation is a critical step forward in protecting tenants especially in light of the pandemic and the number of tenants facing eviction when the moratorium ends. The Housing Justice Project estimates “on an average 1,200 eviction cases filed a year… it would cost $750,000 annually to provide legal counsel to any tenant facing eviction.”

I brought forward two amendments to this legislation, the first was to clarify that it is the Council’s intent that funding should be awarded to an organization that has specific experience in providing legal representation for renters, and second that any contracted organization shall report on the number of cases and estimated attorney hours spent on court proceedings beyond or in lieu of representation at a show cause hearing or first appearance. This will help the Council determine appropriate funding levels in the future.

SMC Partners with King County Municipal Courts to Resolve Outstanding Warrants

The Seattle Municipal Court (SMC) announced this week that they are partnering with King County Municipal Courts to resolve outstanding warrants. “Back on Track” is a regional program to help individuals have an opportunity to resolve their warrant, regardless of which court their cases are filed.

“Outstanding warrants make it harder to get a job, secure housing, and generally move forward in life,” stated Presiding Judge Willie Gregory. “Our court is committed to helping individuals resolve their case and hopefully, leave the court in a better position in life than they came in. We do not want people to sit in jail for a low-level misdemeanor warrant.”

SMC warrants under $10,000 may be able to have it resolved administratively or scheduled for a bench warrant add-on (BWADD) hearing to be addressed by a judge. You can review the court’s website for more information. If you do not have an attorney, you may submit a Motion To Quash Warrant/Set BWADD Hearing form.

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