West Seattle Bridge Update; Excessive Heat Warning; Funding Available for Nursing Services – Applications Due 8/11; 7/26/22 Public Safety & Human Services Committee; Night Out on August 2; Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal update; Sound Transit Board Decision on Light Rail Alignment

West Seattle Bridge Update

The West Seattle Bridge repair project remains on track for the week of September 12th.

On Monday, SDOT announced that post-tensioning work was completed. The final phase involved tightening the steel wires from 20% tensioning to 100%.

Post-tensioning is one of three key repair procedures SDOT is using to repair the bridge: epoxy injections to fill cracks, carbon-fiber wrapping to add strength, and post-tensioning with steel cables to compress the concrete. Together, these methods will strengthen the entire structure, prevent future cracking, and help keep the bridge safe for decades to come.

With post-tensioning complete, the remaining tasks to reopen the West Seattle Bridge are:

  • Complete final epoxy injections and carbon-fiber wrapping
  • Complete cure time for the carbon-fiber wrapping
  • Remove work platforms
  • Load test and inspect the repairs
  • Restore the pavement on the bridge deck
  • Remove construction equipment and get the bridge ready for the public

A constituent shared a photo of an expansion joint at the bridge and concern about the presumed implication about the appearance. Others have raised this on social media as well. I raised this with SDOT and they noted the barrier below is aligned and that “discontinuity is an optical illusion from the boards closing off the gap while the cover plates are rehabbed.”

Below is a photo of the same expansion joint from the bridge deck:

Photo: SDOT

Excessive Heat Warning

The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Warning for Seattle this week, through Saturday evening, due to forecasted high temperatures above 90 degrees. Cooling centers will be available across the city and outreach teams are on the ground working with our most vulnerable residents to prevent heat illness in these extreme conditions.

Since most Seattle households don’t have air conditioning at home, it’s important to take precautions to keep yourself and your family safe this week.

Here are some tips to help protect yourself and loved ones:

  • Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water – before you feel thirsty.
  • Close blinds and curtains; cover up your windows.
  • Use fans inside to help with air circulation.
  • Check on your neighbors, particularly seniors and people with medical conditions.
  • Avoid outdoor activities during the afternoon.
  • Don’t leave your kids or pets alone in a vehicle.

There are places you can go if it gets too hot at home:

  • 4 community centers have A/C and will be open at least from 2-8pm this week:
    • Rainier Beach (8825 Rainier Ave S)
    • International District Chinatown (719 8th Ave S)
    • Northgate (10510 5th Ave NE)
    • Magnuson Park (Building #406 6344 NE 74th ST)
  • The Central Library and 17 branches have A/C. You can check for the closest one and their operating hours here.
  • 5 senior centers will be open for cooling with A/C – please call ahead for hours. They include:
    • Central Area Senior Center,
    • Greenwood,
    • Pike Market,
    • Southeast Seattle, and
    • Senior Center of West Seattle.
  • The King County Regional Homelessness Authority is opening additional indoor daytime cooling spaces starting tomorrow for people experiencing homelessness. You can find them here.
  • Malls and movie theatres are good places to spend time with A/C
  • Also consider cooling down at a park with a water feature such as a wading pool or spray park. You can find a list of aquatics activities here.
  • South Park Community members set up their first misting tent at South Park Community Center operating 10am – 4:30pm weekdays throughout the heatwave. Stop by to find some shade, run around in the mist, or have your kids enjoy South Park Community Center’s Summer of Safety programming, which provides a free lunch and free activities for youth.

Funding Available for Nursing Services – Applications Due 8/11

The Human Services Department is seeking applications to provide nursing services.  This Nursing Services Request for Qualifications (RFQ) is focused on responding to referrals within specified timeframes for nursing services that include file reviews, nurse consultant home visits, telephone calls, care coordination, and follow-up.

Up to $165,755 in Federal/State Title XIX Funds is available. HSD intends to fund a maximum of two proposals.  Initial awards will be made for the period of October 1, 2022 to December 31, 2023.  Find more information and RFP materials here.  Applications are due by Noon on Thursday, August 11.

Questions?  Please contact Mary Pat O’Leary, Funding Process Coordinator, at Mary.OLeary@seattle.gov.

7/26/22 Public Safety & Human Services Committee

Abortion Access in King County:  Heather Maisen from Public Health – Seattle & King County gave a sexual and reproductive health update at Tuesday’s Public Safety & Human Services committee, including a review of the family planning services and clinics they operate, and how they facilitate access to abortion.

It’s worth repeating that abortion remains safe and legal in Seattle, King County, and Washington state.

  • Find accurate information about accessing abortion in Seattle and King County at Gov/Abortion.
  • Get help making and paying for an appointment, and travel and transportation support, from NW Abortion Access Fund.

On August 9th, Council will vote on two bills that Councilmember Morales and I are sponsoring to further protect abortion access:

  • CB 120374 adds people who have received or are seeking abortions as a protected class, ensuring their civil rights protections.
  • CB 120376 creates a misdemeanor charge for people who encroach on individuals seeking abortions or gender-affirming care.

I am actively pursuing requiring hospitals and clinics to provide accurate information about the limitations of their reproductive services, using obligations under consumer protection to not engage in deceptive practices.  An estimated 50% of Washington’s hospital beds are in religiously affiliated hospitals, where full reproductive services are not available.  Astonishingly, they are not required to tell their pregnant patients that they can’t receive the full range of healthcare services there.

If you have questions about the range of reproductive healthcare services offered by your hospital of choice, the state Department of Health posts information from every hospital at this website: Hospital Policies | Washington State Department of Health.  Just find your hospital, click on it, and then click on “Reproductive Health Services Provided.”

Gun Violence Prevention:  We also heard from a panel of experts and frontline workers who talked about the drivers of the rise in gun violence here and nationally, and local interventions that are helping.   You can watch the presentation here, at the 7 minute mark.  Our speakers included:

  • Dom Davis, CEO, Community Passageways
  • Deepika Nehra, Harborview Medical Center Hospital Based Intervention
  • Renee Hopkins, WA Alliance for Gun Responsibility
  • Sandra Shanahan, Program Manager, Regional Domestic Violence Firearms Enforcement Unit
  • Eleuthera Lisch, Strategic Advisor & Program Manager, Gun Violence Prevention/Intervention at Public Health
  • DeVitta Briscoe, Gun Violence Prevention Liaison, Mayor’s Office

The Regional Domestic Violence (DV) Firearms Enforcement Unit focuses on removing firearms from homes in high-risk situations, using court orders to surrender and prohibit weapons, and extreme risk protection orders.

Data from four years’ worth of program implementation shows a significant impact on removing firearms from situations where the risk of death is very high.

Dr. Deepika Nehra and Dom Davis presented on the Harborview Medical Center Hospital Based Intervention, which I’ve written about before.  The program provides support to victims of gun violence and their families, in order to prevent escalation and future violence.

It has traditionally focused on young people, but there is an emerging need to expand the age range to serve ages 25 to 40, where we are seeing an increasing amount of gun violence.  I will pursue funding for this expansion as part of Council’s 2023 budget deliberations this fall.

Mid-year accountability reports: the committee heard mid-year updates from the three police accountability bodies, as required in the 2017 accountability ordinance.

Here are the presentations: Community Police Commission ; Office of the Inspector General ; and Office of Police Accountability.

The Office of the Inspector General highlighted their work in coordinating discussions about changes to SPD traffic stops policies, and ongoing work on ruse/deception policies.

OIG also noted they have moved from a practice of quarterly sampling of OPA dispositions as “contact logs” or “supervisor action” to doing this review of all dispositions in real time.  “Contact log” and “supervisor action” are the dispositions that OPA makes when they believe a complaint does not warrant an investigation.  The new approach allows the OIG to consider if there are course corrections that need to be made and, if so, OIG can recommend those course corrections to the OPA. I thanked the OIG for adjusting practices, in response to concerns from public.  The OIG has an additional report on functioning of the office that is forthcoming.  Though the timing of the committee meeting and the timing of the OIG report didn’t allow for the semi-annual report to cover the content of the report’s recommendations; my understanding is that most of the recommendations from the report are already implemented or in progress.

The Office of Police Accountability report noted 93 discipline appeals filed through arbitration between 2016 and 2021 remain open.

The Seattle Police Management Association (SPMA) Contract adopted recently addresses discipline, for SPMA members, and includes significant changes that will help slow that backlog from growing by ensuring cases aren’t being entirely relitigated during arbitration as they currently are (de novo review). It will also ensure arbitrators, who are not generally experts on policing, don’t substitute their judgment for the police chief’s, undermining accountability. Bargaining is taking place for the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) members.

The Mayor has selected Gino Betts as the permanent director of the Office of Police Accountability; he will appear before the committee on August 9th.

The Community Police Commission spoke to several issues, including the CPC recommendations tracker which compiles the recommendations of the three accountability bodies, and responses, and work on strategic planning.

Police hiring incentives

Legislation on police hiring incentives has generated significant interest; it will be heard at the August 9th committee meeting.

Night Out on August 2

Night Out is a national event promoted in Seattle by the Seattle Police Department Crime Prevention Unit. It’s designed to heighten crime prevention awareness, increase neighborhood support in anti-crime efforts, and unite our communities. This year’s event is on Tuesday, August 2.

If you’d like to officially participate in Night Out and to have your street closed for the event you need to register here. You can close a street as long as it does not close an intersection or an arterial. There is no fee.

Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal Update

This morning Washington State Ferries closed the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal after what they called a “hard landing” on a Cathlemet ferry trip, which was coming from Vashon.

Around 3:30 in the afternoon Washington State Ferries sent me the following update (also noted on their twitter feed):

The Coast Guard has cleared the Cathlamet to be moved and it has pulled away from the Fauntleroy dock.  It will make crew-move stops at Vashon and Southworth before heading to WSF’s Eagle Harbor Maintenance Facility.

With the Cathlamet moved, and the terminal infrastructure cleared for safe service, we will immediately restore service to Fauntleroy.  Initially, this will be one-boat service with the Issaquah making all-stops on the route.  The Kitsap is on the way to Vashon and when it arrives, we’ll reset the two-boat schedule for the afternoon and evening. 

This has been a challenging day for our vessel crews and terminal staff.  We appreciate our passengers’ patience while WSF staff, the Coast Guard, and Washington State Patrol worked to begin their investigations of the incident.  Safety is always our number one priority and we look forward to understanding the circumstances of today’s hard landing and any recommendations coming from the investigation.

Photo: WSDOT

Sound Transit Board Decision on Light Rail Alignment

As this newsletter was being completed the Sound Transit Board voted to approve a motion to establish a preferred alternative for light rail for West Seattle and Ballard, for the Final Environmental Impact Statement.

For West Seattle, the preferred alternative includes the Medium Tunnel to 41st for the West Seattle Junction; the Andover Street Lower Height station for Delridge; and a south crossing of the Duwamish.

The options selected as preferred alternatives in West Seattle are affordable within Sound Transit’s financial plan.

The Board also identified items for further study: shifting the West Seattle Junction station to 42nd; eliminating the Avalon station; a pedestrian bridge across Andover Street or shifting the alignment south toward SW Yancy Street:

All the alternatives considered in the Draft EIS will carry over to the Final EIS. The Board will make a final decision after the Final EIS is published.

Thank you to Mayor Harrell and Council President Juarez for their work representing on the Sound Transit Board, and King County Councilmember McDermott for his work representing West Seattle.