Tag Archives: Mayor Jenny Durkan

Durkan Budget Would Gut JumpStart Spending Plan, Increase Funding for Encampment Response

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)


Mayor Jenny Durkan released the final budget of her term yesterday, Sept. 27, outlining the proposal at a very high level in a six-minute speech from North Seattle College. In the coming weeks, the proposal will be debated, analyzed, and rewritten by the Seattle City Council (the addition of 35 net new police officers is an obvious target for their red pens), and PubliCola will be covering every aspect of those upcoming discussions. For now, though, here are a few initial notes on the plan, which reflects better-than-expected revenues and incorporates a lot of ongoing federal funding for COVID-19 relief.

Continue reading Durkan Budget Would Gut JumpStart Spending Plan, Increase Funding for Encampment Response

Mayor’s New ARTS Interim Director Appointment Prompts Community Unease

by Alexa Peters


Over the last 10 days, tensions between Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, the City Council, Seattle Arts Commission (Commission), the Office of Arts and Culture (ARTS), and local Black arts community members have mounted following the mayor’s early September appointment of Royal Alley-Barnes as interim director of ARTS. The mayor made the appointment with a little more than 100 days left in her term and without having consulted with local arts community stakeholders about her decision.

Following the resignation of permanent ARTS Director Randy Engstrom in December 2020, the mayor agreed to a plan in which then Deputy Director of ARTS Calandra Childers would step in as interim director and oversee a committee of staff members and arts community members, called the Seattle Arts Director Advisory Committee, with the objective of centering community voices in the process of selecting a new permanent ARTS director.

“The Office of Arts and Culture [asked] me to co-chair the Seattle Arts Director Search Advisory Committee in early 2021, in hopes of ensuring there would be community input in the process [of finding] the new director of the Office of Arts and Culture,” said Sharon Nyree Williams, a storyteller and executive director of the Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas. “So that process began and … the mayor, at that time, had said that she would not be searching for a new director during her term.”

Continue reading Mayor’s New ARTS Interim Director Appointment Prompts Community Unease

With Future of Tiny Houses Up in the Air, Advocates Push for Action This Year

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


Advocates and city councilmembers are putting pressure on Mayor Jenny Durkan and the City’s Human Services Department (HSD) to move forward with three new tiny house villages — groups of small shed-like shelters for people experiencing homelessness — this year, before the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) takes over the City’s homelessness-related contracts in 2022.

The short-term (and at this point, probably quixotic) goal is to convince Durkan and HSD’s short-staffed homelessness division to commit to moving forward with all three villages before the City’s homelessness contracts move to the KCRHA at the end of the year. The long-term goal, which may be equally quixotic, is to demonstrate strong community support for tiny house villages in the face of strong opposition at the new authority, whose leader, Marc Dones, has no allegiance to what has become conventional wisdom at the City.

Earlier this year, the Seattle City Council adopted (and the mayor signed) legislation accepting $2 million in state COVID-19 relief funding to stand up three new tiny house villages and setting aside an additional $400,000 to operate the villages once they open — the Seattle Rescue Plan. Since then, HSD has declined to issue a request for proposals to build the villages, arguing that the council doesn’t have a long-term plan to operate the villages after this year. The longer HSD waits, the more likely it is that the job of deciding whether to stand up additional tiny house villages will fall to the regional authority.

Continue reading With Future of Tiny Houses Up in the Air, Advocates Push for Action This Year

Durkan Won’t Sign Crowd-Control Weapons Bill, Raises Specter of Court Challenge

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan refused to sign the City Council’s recent ordinance restricting the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) use of crowd-control weapons, allowing the bill to become law while the City awaits a federal district court’s go-ahead to implement changes to SPD’s tactics and arsenal.

In a letter to the council during their August recess, Durkan heaped criticism on the bill and the yearlong process that produced it, calling it a “knee-jerk reaction” to last year’s protests that overstepped the council’s authority, undercut SPD policy change procedures enshrined in the City’s agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and made promises that the City can’t keep.

Durkan has routinely allowed legislation to take effect without her signature, though not always because of a difference of opinion: Certain land use ordinances, for instance, don’t necessarily go to the mayor for a signature before becoming law. The mayor can also return legislation to the council unsigned when she has concerns about a bill’s impact or legality but believes that the council would vote to override a veto.

Continue reading Durkan Won’t Sign Crowd-Control Weapons Bill, Raises Specter of Court Challenge

Community Groups Urge Focus on Disease, Not Just Symptoms of Gun Violence

by Ashley Archibald


The first six months of 2021 saw an increase in reports of gun violence in King County compared to recent years — violence that was highly concentrated in BIPOC communities and has prompted calls for additional investments to alleviate the conditions that contribute to the shootings.

Continue reading Community Groups Urge Focus on Disease, Not Just Symptoms of Gun Violence

Mayor Durkan Announces Community-Based Programs, Responding to Gun Violence Spike

by Lizz Giordano and Andrew Engelson


As shootings spike in King County, disproportionately impacting Communities of Color, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced last week the City will distribute $12.4 million to organizations working to curb gun violence and improve safety in BIPOC communities. 

The year 2020 was particularly deadly for Seattle, recording the highest number of homicides in more than a quarter century. This past weekend, a series of shootings in Belltown, Pioneer Square, the Chinatown-International District, and Yesler Terrace left five people dead and nine injured according to the Seattle Police Department (SPD). In a press conference on Monday, July 26, Durkan said the violence was part of a surge in homicides across the United States. 

“This weekend delivered a sober reminder that Seattle is not immune from gun violence,” Durkan said during the press conference. “This is a national crisis. Over the past week, from Chicago to Minneapolis to Washington, D.C., there have been over 900 shooting incidents.”

Continue reading Mayor Durkan Announces Community-Based Programs, Responding to Gun Violence Spike

Public Safety Agencies Announce Plan for New 911 Triage Team

by Paul Kiefer


(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement) 

By next summer, Seattle’s emergency call dispatchers may have a new crisis response team at their disposal. The new unit, called Triage One, would be housed within the Seattle Fire Department’s Mobile Integrated Health program and tasked with responding to some crisis calls that don’t clearly involve a medical emergency or criminal activity.

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City Expected Encampment on School District Property After Sweeping Nearby Park

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article previously appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement)


During an often rowdy public forum in the cafeteria of Broadview-Thomson K-8 school last week, Seattle Public Schools Deputy Director Rob Gannon said the school district is working slowly toward a plan for moving more than 50 unsheltered people off school district-owned property behind the North Seattle school. The City of Seattle has refused to assist the school district in sheltering or housing people living on the property, and the district has turned to a small nonprofit called Anything Helps with the goal of getting everyone off the site by September.

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City Council Vote Set for Durkan’s Proposed $30 million for BIPOC Communities

by Elizabeth Turnbull

Following consecutive protests last year and the creation of a task force, Mayor Jenny Durkan transmitted legislation to the Seattle City Council on July 13 outlining $30 million in investments for BIPOC communities.

Overall, the money is intended to work against disparities caused by racist and governmental policies that have disproportionately affected BIPOC communities, according to a statement by the City. 

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OPINION — Say Her Name: Charleena Lyles

Four years after she was killed by police, her family still seeks answers.

by Katrina Johnson, Jesse Hagopian, and Michael Bennett


The broadest protests in U.S. history occurred last spring and summer in the wake of the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others. While this uprising around the country — in all 50 states, in rural and urban areas — was certainly about those widely publicized horrific murders at the hands of police, masses of people rose up around the country in large part because they had seen similar police violence in their own communities — including here in Seattle. 

Four years ago, Charleena Lyles, a 30-year-old Black pregnant mother of four, was fatally shot by two white Seattle police officers.

Continue reading OPINION — Say Her Name: Charleena Lyles