by Chamidae Ford
On Tuesday evening, May 4, the Seattle City Council held a public comment forum to hear how the community would like to see $239 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding spent.
The forum lasted two and a half hours, featuring nearly 80 community members calling in to voice their opinions.
Continue reading Community Expresses Support for Investing Federal Relief Funds in Black Community
by Emerald Staff
The federal government is releasing money to get people experiencing homelessness into stable housing through its coronavirus relief spending, and although the figure is substantial, it’s likely not enough to house all those who need it. According to a report released from Third Door Coalition last May, Seattle needs to build 6,500 units of housing over the next five years to adequately house its homeless population, at an estimated cost of $1.6 billion.
Continue reading Seattle and King County Receiving $26 Million in Federal Aid to Address Homelessness
by Ashley Archibald
Mutual aid practitioners who have long worked with homeless individuals have called on the Seattle City Council to disavow We Heart Seattle (WHS), a volunteer group that removes trash from homeless encampments across the city. WHS’s critics insist the group has illegally removed belongings, focused more on cleaning up sites rather than the welfare of unsheltered residents, and used inappropriate tactics to remove people experiencing homelessness from public spaces.
Continue reading Volunteer Group That Removes Trash From Homeless Encampments Draws Criticism
by Carolyn Bick
On Monday, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced an extension of the City’s current eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021. The Washington State Legislature is also considering statewide tenant protections, as the March 31 end date for the statewide eviction moratorium looms on the horizon and no indication from Gov. Jay Inslee that he will extend the eviction freeze. The statewide protections include right to counsel legislation similar to what the Seattle City Council was also slated to vote on Monday evening.
Continue reading Durkan Extends Eviction Moratorium as Local, State Leaders Consider Further Protections
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
On Monday, the director of the city’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS), Calvin Goings, and the city’s finance director, Glen Lee, signed a letter to the State Auditor’s Office (SAO) asking the auditor to expand the scope of its ongoing audit of the contract between the city’s Legislative Department and the Freedom Project, which served as the “fiscal agent” for a $3 million project to study participatory budgeting and alternatives to policing.
However, PubliCola’s reporting indicates that the letter was written not by Goings and Lee but by Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office — and that Goings and Lee were less than thrilled to sign their names to such a blatantly political series of requests and leading questions.
Continue reading Durkan Administration Asks State to Expand Scope of Audit Into City Council Contract
by Jack Russillo
Last weekend’s nationwide stormy weather affected vaccine shipments from the east coast to the west coast, meaning that Washington State health care providers will see delays in vaccine shipment arrivals.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) estimates that more than 90% of this week’s allocation to the state will arrive late due to stormy weather across the country, DOH officials said in a virtual press conference on Thursday, Feb 18. Moderna vaccines have not shipped yet this week and Pfizer vaccines did not ship Monday, with only a limited number of vaccine shipments processed Tuesday and Wednesday. These delays caused the DOH to close its Kennewick and Spokane vaccination sites through the weekend, and others might follow suit.
Continue reading Delay of Vaccine Delivery a Concern, But Washington DOH Guardedly Optimistic About COVID-19 Cases
by Erica C. Barnett
Mayor Jenny Durkan’s final State of the City speech, delivered from the Filipino Community Center in southeast Seattle, was notable more for its brevity than its content.
The 862-word speech, which clocked in at just over six minutes (in the previous three years, Durkan’s States of the City were 48, 42, and 43 minutes, respectively), included plenty of platitudes about Seattle’s resilience and future recovery (“We have a tough road ahead, but there is hope on the horizon,” she said.) but few specifics about what the city has done and will do to ensure that recovery—for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, small businesses, renters, or people experiencing homelessness.
Continue reading Durkan Focuses on Vaccination, “Reopening Downtown” In Brief State of the City Remarks
by Ben Adlin
Seattle officials are urging residents to prepare for a series of winter storms expected to bring snow and sustained below-freezing temperatures to the region this week, warning that the severe weather could cause power outages, create problems for drivers, and put vulnerable populations at risk.
“We have to check in with our neighbors at times like this, especially our seniors and disabled neighbors,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “And also remember, you have the responsibility to shovel that sidewalk in front of your property.”
Agencies around King County are gearing up for the severe weather — preparing to clear roads and adjust bus routes, for example — but leaders at Wednesday’s press conference acknowledged the ongoing pandemic will complicate some efforts, such as expanding emergency shelter for people without housing.
Continue reading As Seattle Gears Up for Winter Weather, Officials Scramble to Secure Emergency Shelter
by Ben Adlin
Thousands of frontline workers at large grocery stores in Seattle will soon see a $4-per-hour raise under emergency hazard-pay legislation passed Monday, Jan. 25, by the City Council. Labor leaders hope the new rule will inspire similar action around Puget Sound, including neighboring Burien and unincorporated King County.
The increase requires Seattle grocery businesses with 500 or more total employees to raise workers’ hourly wages by $4 in recognition of the higher risk of contracting COVID-19 involved in their work. The measure does not apply to small businesses, convenience stores, or farmers markets.
The City Council approved the bill on an 8–0 vote, allowing it to take effect as soon as the mayor signs it. That’s expected to happen next Wednesday, Feb. 3, Durkan’s staff told the Emerald in an email.
Continue reading Seattle ‘Hazard Pay’ Bonus for Grocery Workers Likely to Begin Next Week
by Elizabeth Turnbull
With the end of Donald Trump’s administration and quick action by the Biden administration to issue executive orders on immigration, city officials from across the U.S., including Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, are pushing for a path to citizenship status and greater rights for immigrants.
On Tuesday, Jan. 19, Cities for Action, a coalition of roughly 200 mayors and county executives, including Durkan, released a letter urging the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to ensure a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants and to change detention practices to keep families together, among many other reforms.
Continue reading With Trump Out of White House, Seattle and other Cities Push for New Immigration Policies