Tag Archives: Reprint

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

Last-Minute Push for SPD Hiring Incentives Fails

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

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


The Seattle City Council voted on Monday, Sept. 13, to shore up several of its own priorities for rethinking public safety using $15 million in savings from salaries left unspent by the Seattle Police Department (SPD) after another year of abnormally high attrition.

The council left almost two-thirds of the $15 million in the department’s budget, allowing SPD to cover the costs of downsizing — updates to timekeeping software to help deploy a smaller number of officers more efficiently, for example. Additionally, the council lifted a trio of provisos on the department’s budget, releasing roughly $8 million for the department to use as it wants.

Of the $5.2 million the council shifted out of SPD’s budget, $3 million will go to the Human Services Department (HSD) to fund grants to nonprofits specializing in alternatives to policing. The council set aside another $700,000 to stand up a new civilian crisis-response unit tentatively called Triage One.

Continue reading Last-Minute Push for SPD Hiring Incentives Fails

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

How Racial Perceptions Can Dictate Success of Seattle’s Radical Candidates

by Hannah Krieg

(This article was originally published by Real Change News and has been reprinted with permission.)


“I think I’m going to do this,” Nicole Thomas-Kennedy said to public defender Sadé Smith, a friend and former colleague, when she decided to run for Seattle city attorney as an abolitionist. “Are you sure you don’t want to do it?”

Thomas-Kennedy, who is white, wanted to double-check. She later told Real Change, “If there was a BIPOC abolitionist running for city attorney, I probably would never have entered the race.”

It was the day of the filing deadline for the 2021 primary when political newcomer Thomas-Kennedy decided to challenge 12-year incumbent Pete Holmes.

Continue reading How Racial Perceptions Can Dictate Success of Seattle’s Radical Candidates

State Plans Overhaul of Guidelines for Attorneys Who Represent Kids in Foster Care Cases

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

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


In July, a new state law took effect that will guarantee legal representation for children facing dependency hearings, in which a judge considers whether they should remain with their family or go to foster care. For more than a decade, Washington lagged behind much of the rest of the country in expanding children’s access to attorneys during foster care cases, so when the State Legislature passed the law in April, most children’s rights advocates across Washington lauded the change as a step in the right direction.

Access to an attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of foster care cases. A study conducted between 2017 and 2019 by Washington’s Office of Civil Legal Aid (OCLA), which provides financial support to low-income Washington residents in civil cases, found that children represented by attorneys in dependency cases are much more likely to reunite with their families. The study found that having a lawyer made an especially notable difference for older children and Kids of Color, who are also the least likely to be adopted if left in foster care.

Continue reading State Plans Overhaul of Guidelines for Attorneys Who Represent Kids in Foster Care Cases

Harrell Says He’ll Implement Key Provisions of ‘Compassion Seattle’ Measure, Clear Encampments

by Erica C. Barnett

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


At a press conference a few hundred yards from an encampment in Woodland Park on the morning of Thursday, Sept. 2, mayoral candidate Bruce Harrell said that if elected, he would implement the key elements of Charter Amendment 29 — the “Compassion Seattle” ballot measure. A King County Superior Court judge tossed the initiative last week, agreeing with opponents that things like budgets and land-use policy are outside the scope of local ballot measures, but the campaign appealed to the Washington State Court of Appeals, whose ruling could come tomorrow.

Harrell’s “Homelessness Action Plan” would require the City to spend 12% of its general fund on homelessness, build 2,000 new emergency housing (shelter) beds within one year, create individualized “service plans” for every person experiencing homelessness, and, as Harrell put it, “ensure that our city parks, playgrounds, sports fields, public spaces, sidewalks, and streets remain open and clear of encampments.” These proposals are all identical to provisions of Charter Amendment 29, which Harrell supported.

At Thursday’s event, which was billed as a press conference but resembled a campaign rally, Harrell fielded questions primarily from a large group of supporters rather than the assembled press. “If and when you become mayor, how soon can we as Green Lake citizens expect to see these encampments gone?” one supporter asked. “I will say January or February, because I work with a sense of urgency,” Harrell responded.

Another asked how he’d respond to critics who say that his plan would mean sweeping encampments without providing services. “Look at my record,” Harrell responded. “There are no dog whistles. I don’t have a dog whistle. And I say, how dare people say that, when my wife and I’ve been doing this for 20, 30 years.”

Continue reading Harrell Says He’ll Implement Key Provisions of ‘Compassion Seattle’ Measure, Clear Encampments

Louis Chinn’s Communal Perspective: Multimedia Artist Brings Creations to West Coast

by Samira George

(This article was originally published by Real Change and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


Since the beginning of Louis Chinn’s art career, he has felt called to make art accessible and free for people from all social standings. It’s one of the philosophies that helps guide him to any new project.

So when an opportunity to install a stainless steel sculpture in front of the entrance of a Plymouth Housing building for folks experiencing long-term homelessness in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District arose, it was an easy decision for Chinn.

“I don’t think art should be something that is only for an elite social group,” Chinn said. “I was very much inspired by the fact that this was going to be a piece that was in a building for homeless people.”

Continue reading Louis Chinn’s Communal Perspective: Multimedia Artist Brings Creations to West Coast

OPINION: National Products Inc. Pumps Environmental Hazards Into South Park Daily

by Cedar Bushue

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


I am a long-term resident of South Park. My family and I have had a home here for three generations. South Park is a small neighborhood in South Seattle, hemmed in by the Duwamish and a couple of highway spurs. It is a residential neighborhood but also home to many industries for Seattle and King County. Our life expectancy here is 8+ years less than Seattle as a whole, according to a 2013 study funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. Because it is a small, minority-majority neighborhood without resources, we are home to a transfer station, many homeless encampments, and many industrial areas.

National Products Incorporated (NPI) is a local company that started in someone’s garage but has grown to overtake a great deal of land in the heart of the neighborhood, displacing many neighbors as well as several stately trees that provided wildlife habitat and shade for the human inhabitants. Incidentally, this facility is directly across from one of the main neighborhood parks.

Because South Park is small and its residents don’t make a fuss, companies like NPI can pretty much do whatever they want while the County willingly ignores or happily rubber stamps every expansion plan. 

Continue reading OPINION: National Products Inc. Pumps Environmental Hazards Into South Park Daily

‘Thriving Peoples, Thriving Places’: Pop Art Campaign Honors the Contributions of Indigenous Women to Global Biodiversity

by Nia Tero

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


We are in a critical moment. In the midst of an ongoing global pandemic that is leaving no family untouched, compounded by increasingly extreme weather events linked to climate change, a unique global art project is shining a light on voices essential to the ecological solutions and collective healing we seek: Indigenous women.

“Thriving Peoples, Thriving Places” is a collaboration between two Seattle-based not-for-profit organizations — Indigenous-focused Nia Tero and design lab Amplifier — launching on International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, which is Aug. 9. The global exhibit includes six original portraits commissioned from Washington, D.C.-based artist and illustrator Tracie Ching. The art will be available digitally as well as at public art events in cities, including Seattle, Washington, D.C., New York City, São Paulo, and London. The project celebrates Indigenous women who have acted as stewards of biodiversity across Earth and prompts action amongst an engaged global audience.

The nine Indigenous women at the center of this project are robust examples of real action we can take to strive for the health and future of the planet. They are from communities spanning the globe, from the Philippines and New Zealand, to the Brazilian Amazon to Scandinavia, to the global north, embodying Indigenous experience while carrying generational knowledge and inherited dedication:

Continue reading ‘Thriving Peoples, Thriving Places’: Pop Art Campaign Honors the Contributions of Indigenous Women to Global Biodiversity