Tag Archives: PubliCola

Metro Wants to Get Rid of Cash Fares. Will Vulnerable Riders Be Left Behind?

by Erica C. Barnett

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

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Sometime in the not-too-distant future, King County Metro plans to rip out its existing fare boxes, which accept cash, tickets, and ORCA transit passes, and replace them with a cash-free payment system — part of a long-term plan to expedite boarding, integrate the County’s bus system with Sound Transit, and reduce conflicts between riders and drivers. “Every second you save at the curb is money you can reinvest at keeping service operating,” said Carol Cooper, Metro’s Market Innovation Section manager.

Continue reading Metro Wants to Get Rid of Cash Fares. Will Vulnerable Riders Be Left Behind?

Davison’s Plan to Clear Case Backlog Includes Dismissing Nearly 2,000 Misdemeanors

by Erica C. Barnett


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


City Attorney Ann Davison’s office announced Davison will decline to prosecute nearly 2,000 misdemeanor cases referred by the Seattle Police Department as part of an effort to eliminate what she has described as a 5,000-case backlog left over by her predecessor, Pete Holmes. “In order to maintain close-in-time filing for present day cases, some cases from the backlog will be declined, including those involving: Property Destruction, Theft, Criminal Trespass, and Non-DUI Traffic,” the announcement from Davison’s office says.

Continue reading Davison’s Plan to Clear Case Backlog Includes Dismissing Nearly 2,000 Misdemeanors

A Month After ‘Operation New Day’ Crackdown, Impacts on Crime Remain Unclear

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

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


A month has passed since the Seattle Police Department (SPD) moved its mobile precinct to the intersection of Third Avenue and Pine Street in downtown Seattle, scattering an open-air market for drugs and stolen merchandise that had recently been the scene of two murders.

Continue reading A Month After ‘Operation New Day’ Crackdown, Impacts on Crime Remain Unclear

Sound Transit Fare Enforcement Plan Could Send Riders to Court & Collections

by Erica C. Barnett

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


This Thursday, April 7, Sound Transit’s executive committee will take up a proposed new fare enforcement policy that would reinstate fines of up to $124 and impose legal penalties against riders who repeatedly fail to pay their fares. The new policy, if adopted, will go into effect on Sept. 1.

Continue reading Sound Transit Fare Enforcement Plan Could Send Riders to Court & Collections

Despite National Search, Interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz Is Well-Positioned to Stay

by Paul Kiefer

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


Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell announced on Thursday that he plans to launch a national search for a permanent police chief in April, and publicly encouraged interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz to apply for the role. While Diaz is Harrell’s most obvious option to lead the Seattle Police Department (SPD) permanently, Seattle’s City Charter requires the mayor to run a competitive search process for a new police chief.

To comply with the charter, Harrell will need to choose the next permanent chief from a field of three finalists, and the City Council will need to confirm Harrell’s pick.

Continue reading Despite National Search, Interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz Is Well-Positioned to Stay

Closure of King County’s Only Work Release for Women Raises Gender Equity Questions

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

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


When the only work release facility for women in King County closed last November, it sparked no public outcry — in fact, Washington’s Department of Corrections (DOC) didn’t even announce it was closing. But for women from King County awaiting their transfer from prison to a work release facility, the closure of the Helen B. Ratcliff House in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood presented a new hurdle.

Continue reading Closure of King County’s Only Work Release for Women Raises Gender Equity Questions

Councilmembers Say Better Rent Data Could Preserve Affordable Housing

by Erica C. Barnett

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


Until 2017, elected officials (and reporters) hoping to get a handle on the availability and cost of rental housing in Seattle relied on reports from a private company called Dupre + Scott, whose forecasts used cheeky videos and graphics to illustrate market predictions and trends. Since Dupre + Scott shut down, the City has relied on Census tract-level data to assess housing trends, including residential displacement — a blunt, high-level instrument that does not account for differences between adjacent neighborhoods that may be in the same Census tract.

Continue reading Councilmembers Say Better Rent Data Could Preserve Affordable Housing

Surprise Sweep Displaces Encampment, Scattering Unsheltered People Throughout Downtown

by Erica C. Barnett

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


A three-week standoff between mutual-aid volunteers and the City of Seattle over a row of tents across the street from City Hall ended abruptly this morning, March 9, in a surprise sweep spearheaded by police and the Seattle parks department, who cordoned off Third and Fourth Avenues between Cherry and Washington Streets and began ordering people out of their tents at 8:00 am. (The parks department posted removal signs at 6:00 a.m., giving anyone who happened to be awake just two hours to pack up and get out.)

Continue reading Surprise Sweep Displaces Encampment, Scattering Unsheltered People Throughout Downtown

Pallet, a For-Profit Provider of Utilitarian Shelters, Could Be a Contender for County Funding

by Erica C. Barnett

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


Over the past two years, a broad consensus emerged that non-congregate shelter — hotel rooms, tiny houses, and other kinds of physically separated spaces — was both healthier and more humane than the typical pre-pandemic congregate shelter setup, in which dozens of people sleep inches apart on cots or on the ground. When people are offered a choice between semi-congregate shelter and more private spaces, they’re far more likely to “accept” a hotel room or tiny house, and once there, they’re more likely to find housing than they would in traditional congregate shelters.

In January, the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) issued a request for proposals for almost $5 million to fund new non-congregate shelter spaces. (An RFP is a preliminary step in the process of selecting and funding nonprofit service providers.) The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), which operates a dozen tiny house villages in and around Seattle, applied, as did Seattle’s JustCARE program, which offers hotel-based shelter and case management to people with complex behavioral health challenges and criminal justice involvement.

Continue reading Pallet, a For-Profit Provider of Utilitarian Shelters, Could Be a Contender for County Funding

With Advocates Watching Closely, State Legislators Propose Office to Respond to Encampments

by Leo Brine

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


On Thursday, Feb. 24, House Democrats amended legislation creating a new office to deal with encampments in public rights-of-way, removing many of the provisions that homeless advocates feared would be used to sweep encampments indiscriminately — and leaving unanswered questions about what its actual impact would be.

Continue reading With Advocates Watching Closely, State Legislators Propose Office to Respond to Encampments