Mayor announces $1.8 million for neighborhood business districts

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Today, Mayor Murray joined neighborhood business district leaders and local business owners in Seattle’s Othello business district to announce a $1.8 million investment in 21 neighborhoods as part of the Only in Seattle initiative.

“Thriving, walkable business districts are vital to the success of Seattle’s neighborhoods,” said Murray. “We work with local leaders and business owners on these grants to develop a shared vision that brings more shops and restaurants – and jobs – to neighborhoods throughout the city.”

The Office of Economic Development’s Only in Seattle initiative supports investments in neighborhood business districts, and focuses on the following strategies to create healthy business districts:

  • Business and retail development (supporting businesses, enhancing business mix)
  • Marketing and promotion (events, social media, district advertising)
  • Clean and safe (graffiti removal, dumpster free alleys, lighting)
  • Streetscape and appearance (catalytic development projects, façade, public art)
  • Business organization development to sustain the effort, including participation of an existing Business Improvement Area (BIA) or exploration to form one.

The local business communities in 16 neighborhoods are developing, have developed, or are launching comprehensive, multi-year strategies, in which the city is investing over $1.2 million in 2015:

  • Ballard                                                $   90,000
  • Beacon Hill                                         $   60,000
  • Capitol Hill                                         $ 160,000
  • Chinatown / International District      $ 156,000
  • Othello/MLK                                      $ 154,000
  • Rainier Beach                                      $   85,000
  • University District                              $   85,000
  • Lake City                                            $   50,000
  • First Hill                                              $   40,000
  • Belltown                                             $   35,000
  • Hillman City                                       $   25,000
  • Central Area                                        $   45,000
  • Mt. Baker                                            $   25,000
  • Georgetown                                        $   25,000
  • Columbia City                                     $   29,000
  • Rainier Valley                                     $   10,000

In partnership with the Seattle Investment Fund, a total of $75,000 in façade improvements will be granted to Rainier Beach and Columbia City to develop a more welcoming environment for customers. Neighborhood business district organizations provided a one-to-one match for these project costs.

“Twelve business storefronts across from the Othello Light Rail Station benefited from the façade improvement investments in 2014,” said Tony To, executive director of HomeSight, a nonprofit community development organization in southeast Seattle. “The transformed businesses increase pedestrian attraction and improve perceptions of cleanliness and safety in the business district, not to mention bring property and business owners together to achieve a common goal.”

In addition, Only in Seattle is granting $60,000 to nine neighborhoods to explore or achieve a Business Improvement Area (BIA). The nine neighborhoods are: Chinatown/ID, University District, Capitol Hill, Ballard, Lake City, First Hill, Magnolia, Mt. Baker, Belltown, and Othello. Existing BIAs have generated over $40 million over the last three years to fund clean and safe, marketing and promotion, and business retail and development programs across Seattle.

This year, Only in Seattle also granted $500,000 to neighborhoods with paid on-street parking for capital improvement projects that enhance the commercial district experience:

  • Occidental Park Activation: The Downtown Seattle Association will work with the Alliance for Pioneer Square to activate Occidental Park through installation of public furniture and event programming designed to engage residents and visitors.
  • Canton Alley Paving: Chinatown\International District will finalize the paving of Canton Alley, the final step before the alleyway is ready for public use and activation.
  • Public Restroom: Ballard will purchase a public restroom to serve the business district.
  • Signal Crossing in First Hill: A signal crossing will be installed at the Terry Ave and James St. intersection to improve pedestrian safety in the neighborhood.
  • Design for Lake2Bay Connection: Lake2Bay is designing a pedestrian and bicycle connection that links Lake Union to Elliott Bay through the South Lake Union, Belltown, Uptown, and West Edge neighborhoods.
  • Public Safety in Capitol Hill: Capitol Hill will address public safety by convening stakeholders to explore a possible street closure pilot in Pike/Pine. In addition, a lighting project in Cal Anderson Park will aim to reduce crime and increase public space activation.

“Neighborhood business districts are the economic engines of our city. The Only in Seattle approach focuses on the core building blocks that catalyze economic development and plan for equitable growth in our neighborhoods. This investment highlights leaders that want to engage civically, step up for their community, and grow equitably,” said Seattle City Councilmember Sally J. Clark, chair of the Committee on Housing Affordability, Human Services, and Economic Resiliency.

The Office of Arts & Culture and the Department of Neighborhoods have been integral partners in the Only in Seattle initiative by bolstering the investments and service support. This year, Only in Seattle invested $6,000 in cultural place-making awards to the following neighborhoods to support the integration of arts in commercial revitalization in Roosevelt, Lake City and Rainier Beach.

Through the partnership with the Department of Neighborhoods, five neighborhoods will receive a total of $38,000 to reach out to ethnic and underrepresented business owners using Public Outreach and Engagement Liasons. The following neighborhoods requested and will receive this support: Lake City, Hillman City, Capitol Hill, Rainier Beach, and the University District.

“We’re excited to engage with business owners from underrepresented communities to help shape the direction of the work to be inclusive and representative of the entire business community,” said Michael Wells, executive director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce.

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City of Seattle Mayor’s office seeking AmeriCorps VISTA

vistaThe City of Seattle has received a City Hall AmeriCorps VISTA Program grant from Cities of Service, a national organization that provides technical assistance, programmatic support, planning resources and funding opportunities to coalition member cities.

Cities of Service is providing the City of Seattle with both financial and human capital support, including $30,000 and two AmeriCorps VISTA members. The AmeriCorps VISTA Members will support the Office of Mayor Ed Murray in planning and implementing a neighborhood revitalization initiative in low-income neighborhoods. This initiative – Find It, Fix It Community Walks – is a high-impact service strategy in which the Mayor’s Office engages community members in revitalizing their neighborhoods, one block at a time. To learn more about Find It, Fix It Community Walks, visit murray.seattle.gov/finditfixit.

The City Hall AmeriCorps VISTA Program will allow Seattle to enhance and strengthen Community Walks by better engaging community residents. VISTA members will focus on using Community Walk planning and outreach to increase participation in city-based volunteer programs. This work will include designing strategies to recruit volunteers for city revitalization programs, leading community outreach efforts in neighborhoods selected for Community Walks, promoting and publicizing Community Walks, and developing impact metrics and outcome measurements for Community Walks.

Member Duties:

  • Work with the Mayor’s Office to implement and enhance Mayor Murray’s Find It, Fix It Community Walk program.
  • Design Community Walk evaluation metrics and evaluate the program’s success.
  • Help “Love Your Block” mini-grant recipients implement their proposals.
  • Organize and lead Neighborhood Action Teams (NATs) at each Community Walk site. NATs will bring together department representatives, local businesses, and neighborhood leaders to develop strategies to promote Community Walks and think up solutions to infrastructure problems.
  • Work with NATs and city departments to conduct neighborhood outreach and encourage residents to participate in Walk-related clean-up projects. Outreach strategies include attending community events and meetings.
  • Work with the Mayor’s communications team to publicize Community Walks

Desired Qualifications:

  • Sense of humor.
  • Outgoing and comfortable with public speaking.
  • Experience in municipal government a plus.
  • Experience working in diverse communities a plus.
  • Experience volunteering and/or working with volunteers (or teaching/group facilitation).
  • Strong oral and written communication skills.
  • Strong computer skills.
  • Strong leadership skills, ability to lead a team.
  • Experience planning and executing events and activities a plus.
  • Able to manage and work with volunteers of varying skill levels and ages.
  • Detail-oriented and highly organized.
  • Able to learn new skills and take direction.
  • Experience working in environments with strong social justice values a plus

Program Benefits: Childcare assistance if eligible, Training, Relocation Allowance, Choice of Education Award or End of Service Stipend, Living Allowance, Health Coverage, Stipend, Education award upon successful completion of service.

Program Type: AmeriCorps VISTA
Program Start/End Date: 06/20/2015  –  06/18/2016
Work Schedule: Full Time
Education level: College graduate
Age Requirement: 18+Program location: Seattle, WA. VISTA members will have desks in the Mayor’s Office.
Accepting Applications: Until 3/16/15
Please email applications to: carlo.caldirola-davis@seattle.govApplications should include:

1.       Resume

2.       Cover letter (explain your interest in service and, in particular, Mayor Murray’s Find It, Fix It Community Walk program).

3.       References (at least two)

 

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Mayor sends Pre-K implementation plan to council

Today, Mayor Ed Murray transmitted his plan to implement the voter-approved Seattle Preschool Program to the city council.

The implementation plan provides details about how the preschool program will be rolled out, and how it will work toward meeting its goal of closing the achievement gap for Seattle’s youngest learners.

“Included in this implementation plan are the key ingredients to creating a successful program that will make a difference in the lives of young children and their families across our city,” said Murray. “With the plan’s focus on quality, we’re working to ensure that the children participating in the Seattle Preschool Program will be ready for school and have the foundation to succeed in school and life.”

To form the plan, the Department of Education and Early Learning conducted significant community outreach – holding seven meetings across the city and conducting online surveys in order to gather community priorities and values on key issues.

The implementation plan outlines how the city will select qualified preschool providers, and how those providers will be supported in raising or sustaining their classroom quality.

“Unfortunately, many children in our community don’t have access to quality programs. By expanding access through the Seattle Preschool Program, Seattle is ensuring that all children in our city will enter kindergarten ready to learn and thrive,” said Brianna Jackson of the Community Day School Association. “The Seattle Preschool Program is a great first step toward closing the achievement gap and assuring that all children have the skills needed to succeed in school and beyond.”

The City will select preschools by prioritizing programs that serve areas of the city with the most need for quality early learning programs, those that can meet the needs of low-income and working families, and those that can demonstrate evidence of high-quality classrooms.

The plan also lays a path for enrollment and how children will be selected and assigned to attend Seattle Preschool Program classrooms.

The City will begin selecting preschools in Spring 2015, and the first classrooms will open in Fall of 2015, serving as many as 280 children.

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Seattle Mayor Murray’s statement on Passage of Senate Transportation Proposal

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement on the Senate’s passage of a transportation package today:

 “I am pleased that the Senate has taken an important step forward in making a new transportation package a reality.

“The inclusion of funding for the Westside of SR-520 is good news for Seattle. I am pleased by the inclusion of $5 million in initial project funding for Lander Street overcrossing, which will significantly help freight mobility in Seattle’s SODO industrial area. The multimodal funds in the proposal will also benefit Seattle as we work to provide more transportation choices for our growing population.

“While it is good news that the Senate proposal includes regional taxing authority to expand Sound Transit’s light rail system, sadly, it’s still not enough authority. I will continue to fight for the full local taxing authority requested by the region.

“I am also deeply concerned about ways in which the bill ties the hands of our efforts to address climate change.  Two-thirds of Puget Sound’s air pollution comes from the tailpipes of cars, almost half of the state’s global warming pollution comes from transportation.  One of the most effective policy tools used anywhere in the country to clean up transportation fuels is a clean fuels standard.  And a cap on carbon could raise additional revenue while addressing one of the greatest challenges of our time.  Investments in transit are critical to the City of Seattle, but they would not offset pollution reductions that would be made by a clean fuels standard. Seattle, and Washington, need both.

“As negotiations continue, I am eager to work with lawmakers and the Governor in a bipartisan, bicameral way to improve the measure and hammer out an agreement that we can all be proud of.”

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Mayor Ed Murray launches “Move Seattle” transportation strategy

movde seattleToday Mayor Ed Murray launched Move Seattle, his 10-year vision for transportation in Seattle, providing a comprehensive strategy that will improve how people and goods move around the city.

The plan integrates Seattle’s many travel modes to better support everyone, whether walking, biking, riding transit, driving a car or delivering freight. With a strong emphasis on safety, maintenance, innovation and performance measurement, the plan aims to improve travel even as the city continues to grow rapidly.

“Move Seattle will help transform our transportation system over the next ten years,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “With new technologies and infrastructure investments, we have the opportunity to reshape the way we get around the Seattle.”

By creating a unified transportation strategy, the Move Seattle plan focuses on investments in critical corridors and projects that serve all modes. The plan outlines arterials throughout the city that will benefit from multi-modal overhauls.

As one example, the Ballard to Downtown project seeks to enhance bus transit service ahead of future Sound Transit light rail service to the neighborhood. It would also invest in intelligent traffic signals to ease the flow of cars and freight, while making bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements to the Ballard Bridge.

“Anything we can do to improve traffic and coordinate our planning is a win for everyone whether we walk, bike or ride transit,” said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, Chair of the Council’s Transportation committee. “Thanks to Mayor Murray for working to improve the integration of our Transportation system and to create safer streets.”

Responding to rapid population growth and documented demographic shifts, Move Seattle seeks to increase the number of people who bike, walk, ride public transit or share cars by making these choices more attractive. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will provide better pedestrian crossings, more protected bike lanes, and improvements to accommodate streetcars, light rail and buses, while continuing to support truck and car traffic.

Safety is a key theme for Move Seattle. The city recently launched the Vision Zero campaign with the goal of having no traffic fatalities and fewer serious collisions by 2030. To reach this goal, the city will employ street designs that emphasize safety, predictability and the potential for human error, coupled with targeted education and data-driven enforcement.

Smart maintenance is another goal of Move Seattle. The plan calls for seismic retrofit of Seattle’s remaining unreinforced bridges, repaving of city streets to prevent accidents and reduce wear and tear on vehicles, improved pavement markings, replacement of aging signs and additional lighting to enhance visibility.

“By investing in the existing transportation system now, we will help keep it safe and functional longer,” said Scott Kubly, Director of SDOT. “Rather than waiting until infrastructure reaches a critical state, we will prioritize early maintenance efforts that minimize the need for costly future replacements.”

Innovation throughout the transportation system and its components is another important area of emphasis for Move Seattle. SDOT will test new materials and designs, and will adopt innovations that prove to be the most successful for Seattle.

Complete with cost projections, the plan includes a 10-year project list and maintenance and operations priorities to keep Seattle’s transportation system functional and safe, whether for everyday use or during a major event like an earthquake.

The city has also developed strategic goals to ensure success, and has established performance metrics to track the accomplishment of its Move Seattle goals.

More information is available on the city’s website: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/moveseattle.htm.

Video from the press event:

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Mayor, officials weigh in on historic FCC votes

Today, after the FCC voted in favor of net neutrality and municipal broadband choices, Mayor Ed Murray, Councilmember Bruce Harrell and Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller issued the following statements:

“I applaud the FCC for passing the strongest net neutrality rules in Internet history, a vital decision for not only entrepreneurs, but for the future of our democracy. High-quality, high-speed Internet is essential to an open society and I thank the FCC for allowing municipalities to make local choices about how to increase competition for high-speed Internet that is appropriate for their cities.”
— Mayor Ed Murray

“This is a historic moment in preserving and protecting our right to a fast, inclusive and open Internet. The Internet is now a necessity, giving everyone a voice, access to education, and opportunity in our economy. Today’s ruling ensures a tech startup or a small business are able to compete on equal footing with larger companies by prohibiting paid prioritization and throttling of content and services.”
— Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee

“Although the decision of the FCC directly affects Tennessee and North Carolina, it sends a resounding message nationally that local choice is vital for next-generation Internet adoption. Local government knows the needs of our residents and businesses best and local officials are directly accountable to their constituents, which is why this decision is so important. It’s critical for communities to have the ability to choose the best way to provide high-quality Internet for its public. Competition benefits all members in a community and similar to any other market, high-speed broadband Internet is frequently better and cheaper when communities have choices about how that Internet service is provided. The City of Seattle commissioned a study in November to explore creation of a municipal broadband internet utility in Seattle. We look forward to receiving the results of this study in April.”
— Michael Mattmiller, Seattle’s Chief Technology Officer

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Mayor Murray unveils next steps for the arena

Arena timelineToday, we are posting a timeline for the arena permit process which illustrates the major milestones before a final decision is made by the City.

“Last month, I asked City departments to provide more insight into the permit process for the proposed arena in Sodo,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “This is a complex process spanning several years, but I want the public informed about how the process will unfold.”

State law requires that any project of this size must be thoroughly evaluated for all potential impacts through a public process, which includes analysis of traffic impacts, pedestrian safety and parking before being approved. Consistent with this requirement, the draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was published on August 15, 2013.

The final EIS will be completed and published May 7, 2015.

The FEIS will include responses to comments on the draft EIS, the potential impacts of the various project alternatives and options for how to address those impacts. Evaluating a project of this size and all the potential impacts it may have on traffic (such as the possible removal or relocation of public streets), freight movement, pedestrian safety and parking requires an extensive review and analysis.

A project that involves a street vacation also requires the additional Design Commission and City Council processes after the final EIS is completed.

Since the arena proposal involves the closure of a street segment (Occidental Avenue South), it must also be reviewed by the Seattle Design Commission through the street vacation process. The Commission’s review includes assessing the function of the street system and how the street vacation impacts the remaining streets in the area. The Design Commission also evaluates the public benefits in exchange for the street closure. The Commission then provides feedback to the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), which informs SDOT’s formal recommendation to City Council on whether or not to approve the street vacation. The Design Commission’s review and SDOT’s review should be done no later than the end of August 2015.

The City Council will then hold a public hearing and will deliberate at one or more meetings before making a decision. Street vacation decisions go to the City Council’s Transportation Committee and then to Full Council for a final decision.

If the City Council grants the street vacation request, the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) will then publish the Master Use Permit decision for the arena, including mitigation of the impacts noted within the FEIS. Based on previous timelines for projects of this scope, the final decision for the Master Use Permit should be published in early 2016 – specifically no later than March of that year.

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Harold Scoggins nominated as Seattle Fire Chief

Scoggins

Today, Mayor Murray nominated Harold Scoggins as the next Chief of the Seattle Fire Department.

“As Seattle grows rapidly over the next 20 years, our fire service must continue to evolve to serve the city’s public safety needs,” said Murray. “Our department saves lives every day and our Medic One program remains a national leader in paramedic training for our fire fighters. Chief Scoggins has an outstanding track record and brings the right kind of experience to Seattle.”

Scoggins comes to the Seattle Fire Department from Glendale, CA. He joined the Glendale Fire Department 25 years ago as a fire fighter and rose through the ranks, serving at every level of the department. He was named chief in Glendale in 2008.

“I am honored to serve as the Fire Chief for the City of Seattle,” said Scoggins. “I look forward to working with the men and women of Seattle Fire Department to set its course for the future. My family and I are also very excited about the community and all it has to offer.”

The department currently has 80 vacancies. The mayor is directing Chief Scoggins to intensify recruitment of a diverse workforce of fire fighters, as well as ensure proper succession planning at lieutenant, captain and senior leadership positions in the department.

The Seattle Fire Department’s percentage of women fire fighters is 8.4 percent, which exceeds the national average of 3.4 percent, and the mayor is urging continued focus on the recruitment of qualified women.

“I look forward to working with Chief Scoggins, who will lead the best group of firefighters in the country – protecting us daily and providing emergency care that keeps us all safe,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee. “One critical aspect for the new Chief will be to complete implementation of the five-year strategic plan completed in 2012, setting goals for developing leadership abilities of Fire Department employees at all levels, helping employees develop and improve, health and safety, ensuring a diverse and inclusive workforce, fostering community outreach and partnerships, and maintaining equipment and technology critical to the department.”

The Seattle Fire Department has more than 1,100 employees and an annual budget of $178 million. Fire fighters at 33 stations serve 640,000 residents and respond to more than 88,000 alarms each year.

Today, more than 80 percent of fire emergency responses are medical in nature, a trend that is expected to grow. In January, the department added a new aid unit downtown with 10 additional firefighters. The mayor is expecting further recommendations regarding the department’s structure from the new chief.

Scoggins served for five years as a fire fighter in the U.S. Air Force before joining the Glendale Fire Department in 1989. He was promoted to Fire Engineer in 1996, Fire Captain in 1998 and Battalion Chief in 2003. In that position, he was responsible for recruitment, hiring and training of the department’s fire fighters. In 2007, he was appointed Deputy Fire Chief, before being named Chief of the Glendale Fire Department a year later.

Scoggins is a past-president of the Los Angeles Area Fire Chief’s Association. He taught Fire Science as an adjunct professor at Mt. San Antonio College and El Camino College. He has served on the boards of several non-profit organizations, and is an active community volunteer.

Scoggins earned his associate’s degree in Fire Technology from Glendale Community College in 1994, a B.S. in Fire Administration from California State University Los Angeles in 1996 and a Master of Public Administration from California State University Long Beach in 2007.

Scoggins replaces Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean, who retired at the end of 2014 after a decade at the helm. Interim Chief Michael Walsh, who first joined the department in 1971, stepped in to fill the role for the first part of 2015.

“I certainly welcome Chief Scoggins as the new chief of the Fire Department,” said Interim Fire Chief Michael Walsh. “We pledge our full support to ensure a smooth transition.”

“We are looking forward to working with our new fire chief,” said Kenny Stuart, President of Seattle Fire Fighters Union, Local 27. “Seattle fire fighters need strong, high-quality leadership to meet the increasing challenges in today’s modern fire service, including increased call volume, a growing city, significant training demands and the constant threat of cancer and heart attacks for fire fighters.”

Chief Scoggins’ first day at the department will be April 1. He will be paid an annual salary of $205,000.

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City Adopts Privacy Principles to Protect the Public

City Council unanimously approved a resolution on Monday to provide a framework for dealing with current and future technologies that impact privacy. This is a major step with the adoption of six privacy principles guiding the actions the City will take when collecting and using information from the public. The Council also established an August 2015 reporting deadline for City departments to create a “Privacy Toolkit,” a package of actionable privacy standards to enable City departments to comply with the adopted privacy principles.

“This clear support by the Council underscores the city’s leadership in protecting the privacy of those who use City services,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “This is a solid first step in our comprehensive framework to reinforce public trust, even as we continue to invest in new technologies.”

“We want to assure the public we are implementing policies to ensure the security and protection of your personal information,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee. “Seattle’s Privacy Initiative is working to strike that right balance between protecting your personal information, providing services and being transparent with the public.”

“The Privacy Principles adopted today are an important benchmark in Seattle’s innovative Digital Privacy Initiative, the first of its kind among major cities in the United States,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “In our increasingly digital age, these principles serve as a guide for our work in local government in order to help build and maintain trust with the people we represent.”

Already at the direction of Mayor Ed Murray, a City-wide team representing several departments has been examining best practices relating to data collection, use and disposal. A Privacy Advisory Committee met several times since the Initiative kicked off in November 2014, comprised of academics, practitioners, lawyers and community advocates, to provide outside expertise and advice to the City’s effort. Both groups helped create today’s approved privacy principles, which relate to the City’s collection, protection, use, retention, sharing and disposal of personal information.

View the approved Privacy Principles here. More information about the Seattle Privacy Initiative is available here.

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Murray applauds Council approval of affordable housing tax exemption change

Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement upon the passage of an extension of the Multifamily Tax Exemption for developers of small apartments proposed by the Mayor’s Office:

“The council’s approval of changes to the Multifamily Tax Exemption program represents a smart improvement to a tool that helps private developers include below-market rate apartments in their projects. I’m pleased that after weeks of hard work by my office, the Office of Housing and the Council, today’s action will encourage the production of more affordable units in Seattle.”

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