What is 988?
Perhaps you’ve heard about 988, the new, nation-wide phone number to call for mental health crisis? It’s not quite in operation yet – July 16th is the launch date – but I invited the local leaders who are rolling out 988 to provide an update in Tuesday’s Public Safety & Human Services committee. Michelle McDaniel, CEO of Crisis Connections, which will operate 988 in King County; and Kelli Nomura and Michael Reading of King County’s Behavioral Health & Recovery Division provided an in-depth presentation, which you can view here, or watch the presentation here.
Beginning July 16, 2022, 988 will be the new three-digit dialing code connecting people to compassionate, accessible care and support for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress—whether that is thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.
The vision behind 988 is broader than just a number to call for support. In the long term, 988 will be built out to also increase rapid crisis response services for people in behavioral health crisis; and places for those people to stay and recover while receiving treatment. You can learn more about 988 here.
988 is a piece of the puzzle that is Council’s work to provide alternatives to an armed response for crisis calls. For instance, Council has significantly expanded funding for the Mobile Crisis Team, which responds to calls for people in behavioral health crisis. The 988 and 911 systems will need to be closely coordinated to seamlessly allow referral of callers for appropriate care or response that addresses the unique circumstances present with each crisis.
West Seattle Bridge Update
My office confirmed that last week the specialized concrete needed for post-tensioning on the bridge fully cured.
The contractor is currently working on finishing the duct installation for the steel cables, and looks to start installing the 46 miles of steel cables next week. After they are installed, they will be tensioned in order to strengthen the concrete girder in the bridge.
Public Safety and Human Services Committee Update
The Public Safety and Human Services Committee met on June 28th.
The committee voted to recommend the Full Council approve a mayoral appointment to the Community Police Commission. There is a Council-appointed vacancy for the CPC; if you are interested in serving, please contact my office. Information about the vision and mission of the Community Police Commission is available here.
The Mayor’s Office provided an update on the workplan for 911 call analysis and scoping of future alternative response, appearing in-person in the Council Chambers.
The Seattle Police Department is completing the Risk Managed Demand Analysis, to assess which types of calls require a sworn response, and which may not. Here’s a matrix showing how this could look:
The Mayor’s Office presentation referenced call priority types described in last week’s newsletter. Priority 1 calls are for life-threatening situations and major crimes. Priority 2 calls have a threat of violence which may not be in progress, or major property damage, for example.
Priority 3 calls cover incidents where response time is not critical, and an event is no longer in progress, and a victim is waiting to speak with officers. Priority 4 can include graffiti and noise complaints, and situations where a report may or may not be needed. The Mayor’s Office noted that for some of those lower-priority call types, an alternative responder could take the report, some of which would need to be certified by law officers.
Senior Deputy Mayor Harrell said that the Risk Managed Demand call analysis would be complete any day now; I invited the Executive to present the results of the call analysis at the July 26th committee meeting.
The presentation also provided updates on the Council’s budget requests for reports on Community Service Officer duties, which could potentially be expanded; and mental health responses. The presentation noted Community Service Officers (CSO) may be good candidates for some calls, and King County’s Mobile Crisis Teams that are expanding could be a viable option for some behavior-health related calls. Regarding the Triage One proposal of the previous administration, the Mayor’s Office noted they are not proceeding given estimated costs and lack of clarity about what calls it would respond to, and “the Mayor’s Office believes it makes more sense to first identify what calls are good candidates for a non-sworn response and then determine most appropriate response based on nature & scope of specific calls in question.”
My response is that the Triage One proposal does in fact “identify what calls are good candidates for a non-sworn response.” Triage One was a proposal to respond to person down and welfare check call, which entail 8,000 call hours per year. The problem with the Triage One proposal was not a problem identifying “what calls are good candidates.” It was a problem identifying which City workers should respond. See this report, linked here. Whether a result of the old Priority Call Handling Status policy or the new Z-disposition protocol, many of these lower priority calls are already not being responded to, why would there be risk in developing a new, appropriate response to calls currently may not be receiving a response? We need to move more quickly to develop a response for this subset of calls. Though I support the efforts of the Risk Managed Demand call analysis for the broader universe of call types, there is no excuse for waiting until the completion of the Risk Managed Demand call analysis for this small subset of calls that we should be working to develop a alternative response for now.
As noted above, a presentation on 988 was also heard in the committee meeting.
The committee also considered legislation to establish a process for investigating complaints against the Chief of Police. The committee voted to adopt a substitute version as the version before the committee, for the July 12 meeting. This version reflects additional work with the Office of the Inspector General and Office of Police Accountability.
As I wrote about last week, the Seattle Fire Department visits known firework locations to discourage unsafe behavior. For those that wrote me with specific locations, I have passed them on to SFD to visit – as their time allows. I am hopeful that the new Fireworks ban in King County, sponsored by King County Councilmembers Joe McDermott, will help limit the use of fireworks this year because unincorporated areas of King County will no longer have the fireworks stands where violators of Seattle’s decades-old fireworks can buy their fireworks. Please have a safe weekend and 4th of July. If you want to enjoy fireworks, attend one of the area’s annual fireworks displays; they were canceled last year due to the pandemic, but many are back this year (remember mask and social distancing).
Free Summer Activities at South Park Community Center
Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) is offering free drop-in activities for youth ages 11-14 at the South Park Community Center this summer through SPR’s Summer of Safety program. Regular SOS activities will include field trips, arts and craft, as well as sports and athletics. Click here to see a calendar of activities.
Summer of Safety activities at South Park Community Center will run from July 5 through August 22, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays. Free lunch is provided at Noon.
While the community center building is closed for the South Park Community Center Sitewide Renovation, most activities will take place outside in the field area, or to the side of the facility where the wading pool is (once you arrive at the center, staff at the front of the building can help direct you).
Soccer Camps will be held at Highland Park Field. Transportation to and from South Park will be provided. Participants will depart South Park at 8:45 a.m. and return to South Park at 2:15 p.m.
California Avenue SW Pedestrian Safety
On the evening on May 6, Nicholas Wolf was struck by a car while crossing California Avenue SW near SW Findlay Street. In the wake of this tragic death, many constituents wrote to me to request intersection improvements there. I asked SDOT to consider these requests and examine what can be done to improve safety there.
SDOT Director Simpson wrote yesterday to note SDOT recently completed their engineering evaluation of this location, and to shared the improvements they will be implementing:
In our study, we considered several factors including traffic volumes along both California Avenue SW and SW Findlay Street, turning movement counts, numbers of people walking and biking, transit ridership, travel speeds, roadway geometry, adjacent land uses, proximity of neighborhood greenway connections, potential school crossings, nearby signalized crossing opportunities, existing intersection traffic control, and the collision history of the intersection. Based on our analysis, we plan to upgrade the existing yellow flashing beacons at the intersection to a pedestrian half signal. The pedestrian half signal can be activated by push buttons and will stop traffic on California Avenue SW with a red signal indication. This pedestrian half signal design and operation will be similar to that of the traffic control at the nearby Fauntleroy Way SW and SW Findlay Street intersection. We will be funding this upgrade through our existing programs – including the Levy to Move Seattle – and intend to deliver this improvement by the end of this year, barring unforeseen issues.
In addition, we will be implementing a painted curb bulb in the southeast and northwest quadrants to improve sightlines for pedestrians crossing at the intersection, and installing a median island on the south leg of California Ave SW, in close proximity to the intersection to reduce the open feel of California Avenue SW, prevent the use of the center turn lane as a through lane, and potentially reduce vehicle speeds. We anticipate implementing these improvements by the end of this year as well.
Free Summer Meals for Kids
If you have a child up to age 18, they’re eligible for free summer meals! The City’s Summer Meals Program ensures that children receive nutritious meals during the summer months when school is not in session. It provides free meals and snacks during the summer to children 18 and under.
Ready to find your nearest free Summer Meals site?
- Enter your address to find free, healthy meals being served by organizations in your community. / Ingrese su dirección para encontrar comidas gratuitas y saludables servidas por organizaciones en su comunidad.
- Text the word “Food” to 304-304 / Envíe un mensaje de texto con la palabra “Comida” al 304-304
- Call the USDA Hotline 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1 (866) 348-6479) / Llame al 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1 (877) 842-6273)
- Email SFSP@seattle.gov
Highland Park Improvement Club Reset Fest
It was great to see so many neighbors at last weekend’s Reset Fest, which raised funds to rebuild the Highland Park Improvement Club after it was gutted by a fire last year. The Club building is near and dear to my heart: I launched my inaugural Council campaign there, and have participated in many panels, community meetings, and events there.
I also sent a letter of support to HPIC to aid their application to the Washington State Department of Commerce’s Building for the Arts program for funding to rebuild. HPIC functions as a neighborhood hub and bridge that has long held the community together, while nurturing the artists and culture bearers that make this neighborhood so unique.
Photo: West Seattle Blog twitter
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Seeks Community Members to Serve as Grant Reviewers for Duwamish River Opportunity Fund
The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods (DON) is recruiting community members to serve as grant reviewers for the Duwamish River Opportunity Fund (DROF). Grant reviewers assist the City of Seattle’s DROF program by reviewing submitted grant applications and selecting those projects that will be the most impactful in improving quality of life for communities living within the Duwamish River Valley.
Since 2014, the Duwamish River Opportunity Fund has granted more than $1.5 million to community projects focused on quality-of-life enhancements in the neighborhoods of South Park, Georgetown, and SODO. The fund is one component of a broader City effort to improve the quality of life and restore the health of Duwamish River communities.
Grant reviewers should live, work, or receive services in the Duwamish River Valley and have a clear understanding of community needs and resources. Each community grant reviewer will receive a $500 stipend for full completion of their grant reviewer responsibilities.
How to Apply
Prospective grant reviewers should visit the Duwamish River Opportunity Fund website to learn more about the program and access the grant reviewer application. Applications must be emailed to DROF@seattle.gov no later than August 15, 2022 by 5pm.
If you have questions, please call 206-733-9916 or email DROF@seattle.gov.