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Remarks about SPD Ruse; West Seattle Bridge Update ; South Park Flooding and Highland Park Way Landslide ; Signing Up for Committee Agendas ; Hospitalization Crisis; Free Home Test Kits Coming; Human Trafficking Awareness ; December 911 Outage; Virtual Office Hours

Remarks about SPD Ruse, Faking Presence of Armed Proud Boys

You watch my remarks from a press conference following revelations that the Seattle Police Department improperly used a ruse, faking radio calls claiming a hate group was marching through Seattle on June 8, 2020 toward people protesting police brutality.

West Seattle Bridge Update

Last weekend the first of two work platforms was raised to the undersi2de of the West Seattle Bridge. Here’s a time-lapse video showing the work:

Check out our time-lapse video of the work platform lift

The work platforms will be used to install carbon fiber wrap and add epoxy injections to the exterior of the bridge. Here’s an image of the installation:

Upcoming work includes core drilling inside the bridge at Pier 16, to create access holes for post-tensioning cables that will reinforce the strength of the concrete in the bridge. Utility lines will be relocated there to make space for additional post-tensioning cables.

Mayor Harrell let members of the West Seattle Bridge Task Force know that he would like to continue the meetings and requested that members continue to serve. I appreciate Mayor Harrell’s recognizing the expertise and commitment of members. Members have been critical in identifying important issues directly to SDOT during planning, and it’s important to continue this work to assist in keeping the project on target for the June 30 timeline for completion of repairs.

South Park Flooding and Highland Park Way Landslide

Last week South Park experienced flooding caused by King Tides and significant rainfall. Many residents have been impacted by the flooding and sewer backups due to the high-water levels. If you have property damage due to flooding or sewer backups there is assistance available. Please reach out to me (lisa.herbold@seattle.gov) and I will connect you with the appropriate entity to get the assistance process started.

The city is working to address the flooding issues in South Park through two major projects, the South Park Drainage and Roadway Partnership and the South Park Pump Station. I previously wrote about the pump station project here.

Last week, and earlier this week, Highland Park Way SW was closed due to landslides.

My office wrote SDOT to about what the landslide mitigation plan is for Highland Park Way SW, noting the critical importance of Highland Park Way as a detour route while the West Seattle Bridge is closed. Traffic volumes remain significantly higher than prior to the closure of the bridge.

My message noted that landslides occurred during 2017; this is a recurring issue. In 2017 I raised the issue of proactive work to minimize the risk of slides, for supplemental budget legislation then under consideration.

SDOT replied to acknowledge the request about mitigation plans and funding, and noted they would follow up, and noted they had installed concrete ecology blocks where the slide occurred:

Traffic was then opened for one lane in each direction and has since been fully restored.

The Council approved the funding in 2017, and SDOT noted they engaged in erosion control measures in after the 2017 landslide, which took place further to the south of this year’s landslide, including plantings and a concrete wall; that slope has remained stable.

Signing Up for Committee Agendas

As noted last week, the City Council has adopted a new 2022-2023 committee structure. Below is a comparison of the new and previous 2020-2021 structure.

You can sign up to receive committee agendas for individual Council committees, or for all of them. To sign up click on the button below:

Subscribe to 2022-2023 Committees

If you have signed up previously for committee agenda, most subscriptions have been carried over to the committee that best reflects the 2022-2023 committee scope. For some new committees, you may need to re-subscribe.

All committee agendas are posted at the City Clerks’ committee webpage.

Hospitalization Crisis; Free Home Test Kits Coming

Public Health-Seattle & King County says the situation at our local hospitals is dire.  In their live media briefing yesterday, the Washington State Hospital Association had 3 asks for all of us:

  1. Don’t use the ER for COVID testing or mild symptoms.  Find testing sites.  
  2. Get vaccinated and boosted.  Find a vaccine appointment.  
  3. Upgrade your masks.  Learn more here.

Free Home Covid Test Kits:  Today, the White House announced that starting on January 19th, you will be able to order free home Covid test kits at COVIDtests.gov – Free at-home COVID-19 tests.

To ensure broad access, the program will limit the number of tests sent to each residential address to four tests. Tests will usually ship within 7-12 days of ordering.  Read more here.

Hospitalization Crisis:  Amidst our crisis in hospital capacity, I invited Director Dennis Worsham from Public Health-Seattle & King County to present at Tuesday’s meeting of my Public Safety & Human Services committee meeting.  You can view his presentation here, and watch his remarks here starting at 1:19’.

Director Worsham pointed to this analysis from the New York Times, which shows that people who are not fully vaccinated are much more likely be hospitalized:

Pause on Non-Emergency Procedures Statewide:  On Thursday, Governor Jay Inslee ordered a four-week pause on all non-emergency procedures at hospitals statewide, and additional actions including calling up National Guard members to help address the hospitalization crisis.

Get Vaxed & Boosted Locally: The West Seattle vaccination site is open Fridays 11am-7pm and Saturdays 8:30am-4:30pm at Neighborhood House, 6400 Sylvan Way SW.  Vaccination is always free.  Schedule your appointment here, or just show up.  (Appointments required for kids ages 5-11.)

Human Trafficking Awareness

On Monday, I sponsored a proclamation declaring January as “Human Trafficking Awareness Month,” to proclaim the equality and freedom inherent to all people. The proclamation sets forward the City’s intent to advocate for legislation and protection for survivors, to educate leaders, and to encourage public awareness and action against various forms of human trafficking.

To report concerns that human trafficking might be taking place, please call the Washington Anti-Trafficking Response NetworkVictim Assistance Line at 206.245.0782or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888.3737.888.

More information about combatting human trafficking can be found here:

People of color, young people, LGBTI people, and people vulnerable through socio-economic barriers, are disproportionately affected by trafficking.  More than 400 trafficking survivors receive advocacy, counseling, and therapeutic services as a result of City investments. I’m grateful to the Domestic Violence Prevention Council and Human Services Department for bringing awareness of how trafficking contributes to the breakdown of families and community, fuels organized crime, and undermines public health.

December 911 Outage

At my committee meeting on Tuesday, Community Safety and Communications (CSCC) Director, Chris Lombard presented on the December Statewide 911 outage that lasted just over an hour. Most calls continued to get routed to CSCC dispatchers but were routed through another number. This was a back-up redundancy which worked as intended.

The outage was caused by a contractor – ComTech – doing maintenance on their network. The network includes an “A” side and a “B” side, and when one side is down the network should default to the other side. When ComTech began maintenance on the “A” side calls were not routed through the “B” side as intended. ComTech provides these services through a contract they have with the State, and the city does not have a relationship with ComTech.

Shortly after the outage began the city sent a public notification via Alert Seattle which included an alternative number to call for emergencies in Seattle. Unfortunately, that alert went much wider than the city itself. The city is still investigating why this happened. This is unfortunate because some people misunderstood the alert and called which led to an unmanageable spike in calls at the dispatch center. These calls were not emergencies, but people either confirming the number worked or because they misunderstood the alert message to mean that they should call to test the number. The dispatch center received 1,051 calls within one hour when they typically would have received 79 calls. This increase of 1,230% in shown in this graph:

While the city doesn’t have a direct relationship with ComTech, King County and the State are investigating and will report more on the outage and how to avoid others like it in the future.

Virtual Office Hours

On Friday January 28, I will be hosting virtual office hours between 2pm and 6pm, with the last meeting of the day beginning at 5:30pm.

Due to the nature of virtual office hours, please contact my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov) in order to receive the call-in information and schedule a time.

Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours which will continue as virtual office hours until indicated otherwise. These are subject to change.

  • Friday, February 25, 2022
  • Friday, March 25, 2022
  • Friday, April 29, 2022
  • Friday, May 27, 2022
  • Friday, June 24, 2022
  • Friday, July 29, 2022
  • Friday, August 19, 2022
  • Friday, September 30, 2022
  • Friday, October 28, 2022
  • Friday, December 16, 2022
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