by Alexa Peters
Though a comprehensive report detailing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Seattle economy has yet to be published, preliminary data shows that 2020 has been nothing short of horrific for the local travel and tourism industry.
According to a Visit Seattle Annual Report from February, the tourism industry generated $11.7 billion in total economic impact and 80,317 jobs in 2019. But this year, practically every event that usually brought tourists into the area was cancelled — and cancellations at the Washington State Convention Center alone account for a $379 million loss to the local economy.
Continue reading New Campaign From King County and Partners Encourages Residents to Return to Local Tourism
by Elizabeth Turnbull
On Friday, Oct. 16, members of the Skyway community and government officials gathered to celebrate the designation of the second U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) EnVision Center in Washington State, which is set to provide resources for residents in Skyway.
Continue reading Washington State’s Second HUD EnVision Center Opens In Skyway
by M. Anthony Davis
A shootout last Friday in South Seattle near Emerson Elementary School sent five people to the hospital. According to reports, more than 70 shots were fired on a residential street. Then, later that evening, more gunshots were fired on Seward Park Avenue South. That shooting left one person dead at the Atlantic City boat ramp. According to police, witnesses saw a car fleeing the scene before hitting and killing a pedestrian at the intersection of Rainier Avenue South and Martin Luther King Jr. Way South.
Gun violence is on the rise throughout King County. In Seattle in 2019, there were 18 gun homicides. In 2020, there were 17 by the end of July. If this trend continues, we will have a record year for gun homicides in Seattle. Local officials such as King County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Ryan Abbott, quoted in the KUOW article linked above, blame “warm weather” and juveniles “not being in school” during summer months as reasons for the increased violence.
Critics say local politicians and police have failed to curb gun violence in our communities. By and large, police are only involved in the back end of gun violence — they are called after the shooting has already occurred. In the demands of those calling to defund police, part of the reallocated funds are needed to support community efforts to stop gun violence on the front end — by strengthening social services and engaging youth before any violent crimes are committed.
Continue reading Community Leaders Will Meet to Discuss Solutions to Increasing Gun Violence in King County
by Paul Kiefer
(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement)
On Wednesday afternoon, King County Executive Dow Constantine previewed a number of new programs he will propose as part of his 2021-2022 county budget plan next week, including alternatives to jail, community-based public safety alternatives, and divestments from the current criminal legal system. “We took up a simple refrain to guide our budget: divest, invest, and reimagine,” Constantine said. “As we support community members in co-creating our shared future, we make an important down payment on building a strong, equitable, and racially just county.”
Continue reading King County Executive Highlights Criminal Justice Reform in Budget Preview
by Jack Russillo
On Thursday, August 27, King County Executive Dow Constantine released the county’s 2020 Strategic Climate Action Plan (SCAP), a five-year blueprint to confront the effects of climate change in our corner of the Pacific Northwest. The SCAP is a living document that is updated every five years to help King County adapt its climate action priorities.
The main components of the SCAP are to cut greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in half by 2030, prepare for immediate impacts of climate change, and promote more equitable forms of climate justice. The plan was announced at a press conference at the Paradise Parking Lot Community Garden in Kent, with local elected officials and environmental organizers speaking about the issues associated with climate change in King County.
Continue reading King County’s 2020 Strategic Climate Action Plan Brings “More Equitable Access” to Climate Justice
by Jack Russillo
The number of COVID-19 cases has increased recently in South Seattle and South King County, which prompted a visit from the governor and spurred an increase in testing for COVID-19.
Continue reading COVID-19 Testing Available in South Seattle, but Turnaround Times a Concern
by Elizabeth Turnbull
King County Executive Dow Constantine released a tweet on Tuesday, July 21, committing King County to converting all remaining youth detention units at the Judge Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center (CFJC) to new uses by 2025 and to closing the Seattle jail. Activists welcomed the news but called for immediate changes.
“Phasing out centralized youth detention is no longer a goal in the far distance,” Constantine wrote in a tweet pertaining to the announcement. “We have made extraordinary progress and we have evolved to believe that even more can be done.” Continue reading King County Unveils Plans to Shut Down CFJC Youth Detention Center and Seattle Jail by 2025, Activists Demand Closure Now
by Erica C. Barnett
Last year, when King County’s “point-in-time count” of the homeless population indicated a slight dip in the number of people counted in the shelters and on the streets, Mayor Jenny Durkan celebrated the news, crediting the city’s work adding shelter and expanding the Navigation Team, among other actions, for the apparent five percent decline in unsheltered homelessness. Three-quarters of that decline was attributed in the report itself to the redefinition of “shelter” to include tiny house village encampments, which moved a number of people from the “unsheltered” to the “sheltered” column even though their living situation stayed the same.
This year’s one-night count showed a slight increase in both sheltered and unsheltered homelessness throughout King County, with the biggest increases in Seattle and Southwest King County. The new total estimate of 11,751 people experiencing homelessness represents a five percent increase over last year. A separate survey, which had fewer participants than in previous years, provided demographic data and information about why people became homeless, information that the county’s “Count Us In” report extrapolates across the entire homeless population.
Continue reading New Report on Homelessness Highlights Inequities, Growth in Chronic Homelessness in King County
by Emerald Staff
Today, King County and Public Health-Seattle & King County (PHSKC) officially declared that racism is a public health crisis.
In a statement, King County Executive Dow Constantine committed the County and its public health authority to implementing a racially equitable response to racism, centering on community.
Continue reading King County Officially Declares Racism a Public Health Crisis
by Carolyn Bick
Despite Washington State being the original epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak in the United States, the state has not released detailed demographic data around infections and deaths from COVID-19, lagging behind several states and counties throughout the country. King County released detailed demographic data around infections and deaths from COVID-19 on April 10, but the data is only from 51 percent of confirmed cases.
The King County data available shows that cases of the disease are highest among non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islanders, but that deaths are highest among white people. This available data is not consistent with what other areas of the U.S. are reporting –– that Black communities are at a disproportionately higher risk of death from the disease –– or with what some local critical care providers are seeing on the frontlines.
Continue reading Lack of Detailed Demographic Data Around COVID-19 Has Serious Impacts for Providers