• Search Council Connection



  • Council Photostream



    Archives





Keep Cool This Week; West Seattle Bridge Repair; June 29th Open House for Lowman Beach Racket Court Project; COVID 19 Updates; Public Safety & Human Services Committee; Eviction Moratorium Extension; Duwamish River Opportunity Fund

Keep Cool This Week: Tips, Cooling Locations, Drink Water, Identifying Heat Stroke

You’ve probably heard that it’s going to be hot – VERY hot – this weekend and into next week.  That doesn’t happen a lot in Seattle, so here are some tips on keeping cool and safe during extreme heat.

Cooling Locations:  The City of Seattle is opening emergency cooling centers and providing information about ways to beat the heat.  Learn more here.

You can find a list of places to cool down here:

The Senior Center of West Seattle will be open as a cooling center for older adults from Monday through Friday, 8:30am –4:30pm.

Enjoy the A/C at District 1 library branches that are reopening this week.  Find the full list of branch openings and hours here.  Here are the open hours from today through Tuesday…

Delridge Branch, 5423 Delridge Way S.W.

  • Mon 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

High Point Branch, 3411 S.W. Raymond St.

  • Fri 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Sun 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

South Park Branch, 8604 Eighth Ave. S.

  • Sat 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Mon 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

These branches are also opening, but may not have air conditioning:

Southwest Branch, 9010 35th Ave. S.W.

  • Fri 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Sat 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Tue 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

West Seattle Branch, 2306 42nd Ave. S.W.

  • Tue 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Wading pools, swim parks, and pools are also opening this week – find the full list, including open days and hours, here.

I have asked the Human Services Department to open an emergency shelter in District 1 for people experiencing homelessness to stay cool during the heat wave, given our challenging transportation and mobility issues.  My sincere thanks to Rotary Club of West Seattle, which had volunteered its space, but unfortunately lacks air conditioning.  The Human Services Department is working with Salvation Army to see if an alternate location can be launched in White Center.

Stay Hydrated:  Drinking water is essential to keeping safe during hot weather.  Seattle Parks & Recreation is working throughout the weekend to turn on water fountains at public parks.  Check here for a list of open public hygiene facilities, including comfort stations with running water.

Identifying Heat Stroke:  If you start to feel unwell due to the heat, you may need medical attention.

West Seattle Bridge Repair: WSOT and FHWA Approval and Notice to Proceed

On June 3, both WSOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved the West Seattle Bridge repair NEPA submittal.  It is a major West Seattle Bridge repair benchmark and delivered well in advance of when it was anticipated.

SDOT submitted the signed National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) form in late May. This NEPA approval helps keep the project on schedule. SDOT reported earlier this month that repairs are on schedule to be completed by mid-June 2022.

The Council has received the Quarter 1 2021 Capital project Watchlist reports.  These are projects that the Council identifies by resolution each year to monitor risk factors including costs and schedule.  There are requirement for quarterly updates for projects on the Watchlist, under legislation I sponsored in 2018. The reports provide a candid assessment of risks to cost and schedule for major projects.

Reduced reporting took place during 2020 due to COVID; regular reporting has now resumed. The Council resolution included the West Seattle Bridge; here’s the West Seattle Bridge 1st Quarter Watchlist report.

The key project risk identified is permitting, a common issue with major projects.  Both environmental and railroad permits are needed for the bridge repair. As reported above, despite this risk, we got good news this month with approval of the required federal and state environmental review for the West Seattle Bridge repair. The best approach the city can take to address permitting risks is to have ongoing, timely coordination and information sharing with permitting agencies.

The Watch List report notes other potential risks, and mitigation plans.

First of all, lower bridge operations could interfere with temporary work plans. The mitigation plan to limit this risk is to use the general contractor/construction management (GC/CM) contracting method, which allows “for contractor input early in the design process so that this can be determined in advance of being onsite, and allow time for actual means and methods to be coordinated with the agencies.” SDOT expects to issue to the repair contractor the “notice to proceed” next week.

Secondly, “Pier 18 ground improvements include jet grouting for seismic improvements,” and permitting is a potential schedule risk. To mitigate this, SDOT notes that “if it presents a risk to the construction start, this work can be removed and performed under a separate contract. It is not required to rehabilitate the high bridge and return traffic.”

For Reconnect West Seattle work, the primary risk is crew capacity, though SDOT has prioritized this program for delivery of the projects within it.

More detail about budgeting is available in the Watch List report. The bridge repair remains on schedule for mid-June completion, with repairs for the lower bridge to be completed by the end of the 3rd quarter of 2022.

Here is the complete set of watchlist reports: Quarter 1 2021 Capital project watchlist reports.

Also included are updates on Ongoing programs and Discrete projects. Here’s link in excel format for both: Discrete and ongoing projects.

June 29th Open House for Lowman Beach Racket Court Project

You are invited to participate in the 3rd virtual open house to discuss this project and potential next steps.  The 2nd virtual open house presented four possible concepts for future improvements to Lowman Beach Park.  Seattle Parks and Recreation reviewed the feedback and have narrowed it down to two concepts that will be discussed at this online meeting.

Learn more about the project and review previous meeting materials here.

Virtual Open House #3 – Tuesday, June 29, 2021 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Meeting Link: https://tinyurl.com/Lowman-Mtg3
Password: a6MWeF3Aff8
Join By Phone: (206) 207-1700
Code: 1872 55 9987

COVID 19 Updates: Protecting Unvaccinated Kids, Respect the Rules of the Room, Find Your Shot

Protecting Kids:  More than 300,000 children in King County are not yet eligible for vaccination.  For anyone with children in their lives they want to keep safe,  here is some guidance from Public Health – Seattle & King County:

  • All adults should continue wearing masks indoors and outdoors in schools and childcare settings.
  • Consider wearing masks in other public, indoor settings when children are present in large numbers.
  • If you are eligible, get vaccinated and help protect others around you who are not eligible, including children under 12.
  • Choose to socialize outside whenever possible.

Respect the Rules of the Room: Fully vaccinated or not, remember it’s important to respect the rules of the room you’re in. Counties and businesses can make their own guidelines about masking, so it will be different depending on where you are.

If you walk into an establishment that requires masks, you will be asked to respect those rules. That’s why we say, “Respect the rules of the room you’re in,” because it’s an easy way to remember that there’s no one size fits all solution for masking across the state.

Find Your Shot: If you still need to get vaccinated, try these:

 

Public Safety & Human Services Committee

On Tuesday, June 22, my Public Safety & Human Services Committee (PSHS) met.  The agenda included:

  • the appointment of Meghann McCann for the Court Administrator, Seattle Municipal Court.
  • a presentation from the Human Services Department on Council’s Investments in Crisis Responses.
  • a briefing and discussion of legislation to limit the use of less lethal weapons.

Appointment of Meghann McCann as Court Administrator

The Seattle Municipal Court (SMC) Administrator – who is appointed by the SMC judges and confirmed by the Council – is responsible for the administrative and operational functions of the Court, and is charged with Court operations, including programs, resources, services, and systems that support the work of the Court.

Presiding Judge Willie Gregory presented Meghann McCann’s appointment to the PSHS committee.  He spoke to her experience designing and delivering training on implicit bias and removing systemic barriers to equity and inclusion.  This experience will serve the guiding principles of the Seattle Municipal Court.   In August 2020, Seattle Municipal Court judges voted to adopt the following three guiding principles for the court:

  1. Engage the community to guide court 2021-Q1-CIP-Monitoring-Report-Ongoing-Programs
  2. Eliminate disproportional impacts upon Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
  3. Collaborate with our stakeholders to transform the system and improve outcomes

Meghann has a long history of public service and most recently worked as the Deputy Director at the Washington State Department of Licensing. You can read more about her background here. Prior to the committee meeting the Council send a packet of questions to Meghann, some of which were discussed during the committee meeting, you can see the questions and answers here. The Public Safety and Human Services Committee unanimously recommended her appointment to the Full Council. The Council will take final action on Monday the 28th.

To read more about the transformation of Seattle Municipal Count under the leadership of Presiding Judge Gregory, see here:  Community Engagement – Courts | seattle.gov

Human Services Department Investments in Crisis Responses

In April, my committee heard an update from the Human Services Department (HSD) on the new Safe & Thriving Division, and the transfer of victim advocates to HSD from the Seattle Police Department.  On Tuesday, HSD made a presentation on Council’s additional investments in crisis response.  You can see the full presentation here, including case studies of people served by these responders.

The Health One program is housed at the Seattle Fire Department and deploys a team of two firefighters and one case manager to respond to low-acuity situations, including non-emergency medical issues and behavioral health crises. Council added more than $475,000 to the 2021 budget to add a third Health One team this year, in addition to the second unit expansion that occurred in April.  The funding is split between HSD and the Seattle Fire Department.

The Crisis Response Unit of the Seattle Police Department (SPD) deploys teams of one officer and one Mental Health Professional (MHP) on calls responding to individuals experiencing both chronic and acute behavioral health issues.  Council transferred the funding for the MHPs from SPD to HSD.

The Mobile Crisis Team operates county-wide, deploying MHPs and Substance Use Disorder Professionals to respond to individuals who are experiencing behavioral health crises. Council added $1 million to 2021 budget for the Mobile Crisis Team, to fill a funding gap of $750,000 and to expand their services to include a new pilot, the Behavior Health Response Team described below.

Less Lethal Weapons Legislation

The committee also heard a briefing on Council Bill 120105, legislation to limit the use of less lethal weapons. Here’s a link to the Central Staff Memo and Presentation.

In February the committee voted to recommend that a draft  bill, that was not formally introduced, be sent to the Court-appointed Monitor and the US Department of Justice for their informal review.

This introduced legislation follows engagement with the US Department of Justice and the Monitor.

The legislation builds off the legislation originally introduced by Councilmember Sawant and unanimously adopted by the Council, the subsequent consensus recommendations from the three accountability bodies, informal feedback from the US Department of Justice and Monitor after the Public Safety and Human Services Committee voted on February 9th to send draft legislation to the Monitor and DOJ for their review.

The bill includes a full ban on acoustic weapons, directed energy weapons, blast balls, ultrasonic cannons and water cannons. Use of Noise-Flash Devices (Flash Bangs) are banned in demonstrations.

The bill conditions the use of pepper spray and pepper ball launchers on when the “risk of serious bodily injury from violent actions outweighs risk of harm to bystanders.” Tear gas is allowed only in very narrow circumstances.

Changes since the February 9 version acted on by the committee are designed to address the issues raised by the DOJ and the various Court decisions. The Council originally adopted legislation in June 2020; in July, 2020 the DOJ sought a restraining order granted by US District Judge Robart, who oversees the Consent Decree.

During conversations about the draft bill, DOJ expressed concern about the potential that restricting the use of certain less-lethal tools in crowd management circumstances could actually lead to officers using higher levels of force, putting both assaultive protestors and the surrounding non-violent protestors at higher risk of harm. Judge Robart expressed similar concerns. DOJ likewise inquired as to whether the draft bill will provide time for relevant SPD officers to be trained to changes in policy, again, to avoid the unwanted impact of having untrained officers resort to higher levels of force than necessary. Judge Robart also raised this issue.

Key updates to the legislation in response to feedback from the DOJ and Monitor include adding a definition of “crowd control” and allowing SPD 60 days to allow for training after the Court approves the legislation (as required by the Consent Decree).

Another update allows for use of pepper ball launchers in, a demonstration or rally, but not for crowd control purposes, and only when the “risk of serious bodily injury from violent actions outweighs the risk of harm to bystanders.” This change is in response to feedback, and also judicial decisions; a District Court ruling allowed use in restricted circumstances, and Judge Robart specifically authorized use of pepper ball launchers in late February, as part of SPD’s court-mandated annual update to use of force policies.   How could we expect the Court to approve policies banning use of pepper ball launchers after SPD just requested and received approval of their use from the Court, just 4 short months ago?

There’s been some confusion, so I want to clarify the process going forward.

The DOJ and the Monitor have not yet conducted their formal review. Under paragraph 177 of the Consent Decree, DOJ and the Monitor conduct their formal review after SPD has proposed policy revisions. The engagement that we conducted with DOJ and the Monitor about the draft bill was an informal process for us to have a dialogue before Council takes legislative action and before the formal Consent Decree review process takes place.

  • If the bill becomes law, this is what would happen next:
  • First, SPD would draft policy revisions within 60 days (provided by Section 4 of the bill)
  • Second, DOJ and the Monitor would review the policy revisions (this is when their formal review under the Consent Decree takes place)
  • Third, the Court would review the policy revisions (also required by the Consent Decree)
  • Fourth, if the Court approves the policy revisions, then the revised policies and the substantive provisions of the bill will take effect (provided by Section 5 of the bill)

Eviction Moratorium Extension

Last Friday Mayor Durkan announced an extension of the residential and commercial eviction moratorium and other COVID 19 related protections. The extension is through September 30th.

While Seattle has a high vaccination rate the City and County are in the process of allocating tens of millions in rental assistance – in total the city has funded roughly $75 million in rental assistance being delivered to tenants, landlords, and affordable housing providers. This is in addition to the State and County resources.

Residential tenants who receive an eviction notice during the moratorium should contact the Renting in Seattle hotline at 206‐684‐5700 or go online to submit a complaint.

Duwamish River Opportunity Fund

The Department of Neighborhoods is looking for proposals to the Duwamish River Opportunity Fund (DROF) to fund community based projects. The total amount of funding available is $250,000.

The proposals should address one or more of the following areas:

  • Safe fishing or fish consumption
  • Access to healthy food
  • Environmental development or restoration
  • Job training or economic development
  • Community development
  • Pedestrian safety
  • Affordable housing strategies
  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Emerging issues (COVID-19, Homelessness, West Seattle Bridge closure)

The deadline to apply is Monday, August 16 by 5pm. There are also opportunities to attend virtual workshops to discuss the application process and requirements of a proposals. There are two workshops coming up in July:

Saturday, July 10 – 10:00am – 11:30am

Tuesday, July 13 – 6:00pm – 7:30pm

To learn more about the DROF and apply, please go here, and if you would like to set up a one-on-one consultation or have questions, call 206-733-9916 or email DROF@seattle.gov.

© 1995-2018 City of Seattle