NEWS GLEAMS | Statewide Survey Reveals Housing Is Top Issue, Clean Vehicles Coming to Washington State

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷

✨Gleaming This Week✨

Bar chart depicting the top important issues faced by Washington state residents. Housing costs and homelessness were among the top issues.
Graph/chart sourced from the “Puget Sound Regional Council & Washington State Department of Commerce Housing Survey” published in December 2022.

Statewide Survey Reveals That Housing Is Top Concern Among Residents

In a 12-county survey conducted by the Washington State Department of Commerce and Puget Sound Regional Council in late 2022, Washington State residents were asked to rank their top two problems facing the state. Housing and homelessness topped the list; others included crime and public safety, traffic and transportation, climate change, and health care.

Themes that emerged around housing were that housing costs were too high, the state needed more housing, and housing is hard to find. Of the 6,000 survey participants, 77% found that rents are too high, and 75% say it costs too much to buy a home; 83% say more reasonably priced housing is needed in their communities, and 49% found it difficult or very difficult to find affordable housing. To a lesser degree, 14% of survey respondents have been forced to move due to costs, eviction, or foreclosure.

The solutions, however, are mixed. Though a large majority of survey respondents believed that developers should collaborate with government entities and that new housing should be built in walkable neighborhoods, support for middle housing was relatively low compared to the consensus on a need for housing. Survey results showed 58% of participants agreed that middle housing, such as triplexes, should be allowed in single-family zones if these buildings meet all of the standards of the zone, while 66% say their community needs more diverse and affordable types of housing.

“This survey shows that across the state, people clearly recognize the direct correlations between lack of available housing, housing costs and overall quality of life,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown, via their press release. “Creating more types of housing accessible for all income levels strengthens communities, and we are working with local governments and their public and private partners to make that happen.”

Washington State is estimated to grow by nearly two million people over the next three decades. To meet those needs, the Department of Commerce anticipates that a million more homes will be needed by 2044.

The State’s press release states that “[b]y the end of 2024, cities and counties in the central Puget Sound region must update their comprehensive plans and local codes to accommodate their portion of projected housing needs and take other actions under the State’s growth management laws. Local governments outside the central Puget Sound have due dates in 2025, 2026, and 2027 to do the same.”

Read the full housing survey report online. For more information about the Department of Commerce’s work helping communities understand and plan for projected housing needs, visit the Planning for Housing webpage.

Clean Vehicles Coming to Washington State: Three State Regulations Will Improve Carbon Emissions and Improve Air Quality

This week, the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) announced their adoption of three regulations: the Advanced Clean Cars II Rule (ACC II), the Heavy-Duty Omnibus Low NOx Rule, and the Fleet Reporting Requirement. They are in line with Washington’s State Energy Strategy.

ACC II will require an increasing percentage of zero-emission light-duty passenger vehicles (ZEVs) to be made available in Washington State, with the goal of 100% new zero-emission sales in vehicle models from the year 2035 onwards. This policy, originally created in California, was also adopted by Oregon State, making Washington the third to adopt it.

According to a December 2022 press release from Ecology, “Under the new standards, ‘ZEVs’ include electric vehicles (EVs), hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and plug-in hybrids with at least 50 miles of all-electric range.” The change is in line with the increase in ZEV production most major automakers are already pursuing, in a state where 13% of new vehicle sales are already for ZEVs.

A press release shared by organizations such as NW Energy Coalition and Sierra Club states that trucks and buses are responsible for 59% of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and 53% of particulate matter. They write, “The Heavy-Duty Omnibus Low NOx Rule requires manufacturers to reduce harmful smog-forming pollution from new heavy-duty fossil fuel trucks … the Fleet Reporting Requirement allows Washington to collect essential information on truck fleet operations that will help reduce pollution faster.”

“As Washington transitions to a zero-carbon emitting economy, it must not leave behind communities like the Duwamish Valley, which have borne the brunt of industrial pollution for so long. Comprehensive, accurate, and granular data about the number and kind of trucks that travel through Washington and where they travel and spend time is vital to collect now,” said Adrienne Hampton-Clarridge, climate justice policy manager with the Duwamish River Community Coalition, via the press release. “The fleet reporting requirement will help Washington develop responsible programs and infrastructure to support the electrification of the state’s transportation systems and to ensure that the most impacted communities benefit from this transition and are prioritized for investment.”

Black-and-white photo depicting Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights March on Washington.
Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, during which he delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech, calling for an end to racism. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives, photo no. 37-0281a.)

City Hosts Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Day Celebration on Jan. 16

On Monday, Jan. 16, at 10:00 a.m., the City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), Office of Civil Rights, and Seattle Center invite the public to tune into the free MLK Unity Day Celebration.

Remarks will be given by Mayor Bruce Harrell; Councilmember Tammy Morales, who will speak on pandemic recovery; and Office for Civil Rights interim Director Derrick Wheeler-Smith. 

Watch it streaming live on the Seattle Channel.

Find more information on the City of Seattle’s website.

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