Mayor proposes Department of Education and Early Learning


As parents ready their kids for the first week of school, Mayor Ed Murray today unveiled his plan to reorganize of the city’s education and support programs into a new Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL), the first of several proposals the mayor will make in his first city budget.

The new structure will enable the city to better coordinate existing work and resources on behalf of students of all ages, improve collaboration with Seattle Public Schools, colleges and child-care providers, and increase performance measurement of the city’s work to support educational outcomes.

“Equity in education is the foundation of our democracy and the future of our city,” said Murray. “The City already supports programs across the continuum from birth through college, but we must do better to align resources for better outcomes for education. We will sharpen our focus on achieving great outcomes for all, so that none of Seattle’s students are left behind. We want Seattle to be the first city in America that eliminates the achievement gap.”

Economic disparities contribute to a persistent achievement gap here, as it does across the nation, between the educational attainment of students of color and white students:

  • 90 percent of white 4th graders are reading at grade level compared to 56 percent of African American students.
  • One third of African American and Latino students—and half of American Indian students—don’t graduate on time, compared to 14 percent of white students.

Research has shown that students with higher educational attainment have higher average earning power over a career, but also live healthier lives.

“All of Seattle’s children must have the same opportunity to succeed in school and in life,” said Brianna Jackson, Executive Director of the Community Day School Association. “By improving coordination across the entire system, from Early Learning to our universities, and by working together as an education community, we know we can achieve better outcomes for all students.”

Last fall, the City Council adopted a budget action asking the mayor to develop a proposal to elevate the city’s emphasis around education. The council voiced interest in aligning the city’s education and early learning programs, preparing for a universal preschool program, and improving collaboration with the school district.

“Twenty babies are born in Seattle each day and each one deserves a strong and fair start,” said City Council President Tim Burgess.  “We know that high quality education empowers children of all backgrounds to lead healthier and happier lives and their success makes our city stronger.  To enable our cradle to career programs to work better, the Council called for the creation of this Department and I applaud the Mayor and his team for doing the hard work to get the job done.”

For the last several months, the Murray Administration has been working to shape the new department responsible for supporting early learning, K-12 and higher education in Seattle. Most of the positions in the new department would be filled by existing city employees moving from Seattle’s Human Services Department, Office for Education and other organizations. Existing functions consolidated into DEEL will include:

  • Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, Comprehensive Child Care Program and other early learning services and initiatives
  • Elementary, Middle School, and High School academic and social support programs
  • School-based health services operated by the city
  • Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative
  • All Families and Education Levy programs

Nine new positions would be created to step up coordination with area colleges and universities, ensure the quality of city child care programs and pre-schools, and increase data collection to track the effectiveness of the department’s activities.

“We look forward to working with the Mayor and the new Department of Education and Early Learning to partner on behalf of our Seattle students,” said Dr. Larry Nyland, Interim Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. “As we head back to school tomorrow, our teachers, principals and staff are getting ready to ensure every student has the opportunity to graduate prepared for college, career and life. We cannot do this work alone. We are pleased the city will partner with us to meet our goals for student success.”

The new department would house 38 employees and manage a budget of $48.5 million, including $30 million each year from the voter-approved Families and Education Levy.

The mayor’s proposal will be included in his budget submission to the City Council on Sept. 22nd.

Mayor Murray releases statement on 10th and Dearborn encampment

Mayor Murray released the following statement regarding encampment siting today:

Our experts at DPD concluded that there’s a high potential for landslide at the proposed site at 10th and Dearborn for the next legal encampment for homeless people in Seattle, and that this potential poses a significant health and safety hazard for encampment inhabitants.

We simply cannot ignore these risks.

Concerns about the site’s landslide potential were raised by City Council staff and confirmed by geotechnical engineers with DPD after performing a review of historical sliding from the Seattle Landslide Study, geologic maps, and existing geotechnical studies near the site.

At my direction, DPD has asked encampment organizers not to relocate from their current property, and has requested the Low Income Housing Institute, the lease-holder of the current encampment site, to provide an extension while alternatives are explored. There is a possibility that either with mitigation or using only part of the 10th and Dearborn site this property could be used.  But so far, the City has not seen such a plan.

It’s important to make clear: DPD neither favored nor objected to the site before the landslide risks of the proposed site were apparent.  The City, by ordinance, does not have a role in selecting the location of legal encampments – in fact, the City’s role is only to ensure safeguarding public safety, health and welfare through the permitting and regulatory process. Due to the risks for landslide, DPD is fulfilling its role by declining to issue a permit for this site as currently proposed – and I agree with this decision.

I hope encampment organizers and LIHI will continue to work with the City on a complete solution that ensures the safety of encampment inhabitants.

Seattle LGBT Commission seeks candidates

Seattle LGBT CommissionThe Seattle LGBT Commission seeks applications from interested candidates for three vacant seats on the Commission. The Commission is a 16-member body that advises the Mayor, City Council, and City departments on issues that affect LGBTQ communities throughout Seattle. Commissioners have the opportunity to promote positive change by working with community groups and individuals to identify areas of concern, by making recommendations regarding policy and legislative changes, and by serving as liaisons between LGBTQ communities and city government.

In 2013, the Commission addressed a range of priority areas identified through community feedback and the findings from Snapshot Seattle, a citywide survey and community input from an annual Community Work Plan Event. These priority areas include support of LGBTQ elders and aging services; issues pertaining to LGBTQ immigrants, refugees, and asylees; education and outreach around intersectional identities; LGBTQ economic justice; issues of gender identity inclusion and access; outreach to the Seattle Police Department; increased awareness of LGBTQ youth support; support for an LGBTQ Community Center and development of an Office of LGBTQ Affairs among others. In 2014 the Commission adopted a new committee structure with three primary areas of focus: 1) Community Empowerment & Safety 2) LGBTQ Access to Services and 3) infrastructural development that benefits LGBTQ communities. Additional information about the Commission’s 2014 Work Plan is available online at

Appointment to the Commission is subject to confirmation by the City Council. Commissioners serve two-year terms, although may be appointed to fill the remainder of an existing term.

How to apply? The deadline to apply for a seat on the Commission is September 19, 2014. To apply, please submit a completed application form, along with a letter of interest, a resume, a short biography, and the area of Seattle in which you live.

Click here to download the application. Application materials must be submitted by email to Marta Idowu at by the deadline.

Applicants must live or work in Seattle, and must be available for monthly public meetings on the third Thursday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 at Seattle City Hall in downtown Seattle. Applicants should possess demonstrated experience working or volunteering with LGBTQ communities, and it is highly encouraged that applicants have attended at least one Commission meeting or event within the past 12 months to learn more about the Commission’s work and process. Our next LGBT Commission meeting will be September 18th 6:30-8:30pm at City Hall, downstairs in the Boards and Commissions Room. Applicants are encouraged to attend one of the monthly Coffee with Commissioners events to learn more and meet Commissioners; the next Coffee with the Commissioners will be Saturday September 20th 10-11am at West Seattle Junction-Uptown Espresso, 4301 SW Edmunds St (Corner of California & Edmonds).

Murray on Weyerhaeuser move: ‘This is a game changer for Pioneer Square’

Weyerhaeuser's move to Pioneer Square

Mayor Murray made the following remarks Thursday evening in Pioneer Square regarding Weyerhaeuser’s move to the neighborhood:

Next week, we will gather here in Pioneer Square to celebrate the kickoff of the NFL season with our Superbowl champion Seattle Seahawks.

Today, we gather in Pioneer Square to celebrate the relocation of Weyerhaeuser’s corporate headquarters to Occidental Park.

This is a game changer for Pioneer Square.

Weyerhaeuser’s decision to conduct its future recruitment in Seattle is a clear demonstration of what makes our city attractive to businesses.

Businesses want the kind of talent pipeline that Seattle can provide.

Businesses want to be where creative people want to be, where there’s a vibrancy in the streets, in the arts, in our parks and in active, walkable, bike-able, transit-oriented neighborhoods – like Pioneer Square.

Weyerhaeuser’s move to Occidental Park – and the 900 jobs that come with it – will have a huge and positive impact on our efforts to revitalize Pioneer Square, to attract even more businesses to the area, and to bring continued vibrancy to this historic district.

I want to thank Weyerhaeuser president and CEO Doyle R. Simons for this game-changing decision.

Doyle could not be with us here today, but he has provided the following statement for me to share with you all:

“Moving our headquarters to Seattle is an important step forward for our company. The south downtown area is a great transit hub for our employees and we’re excited to become part of this growing, vibrant and historic part of the city.”

Thank you and congratulations to the Pioneer Square Alliance, whose hard work to improve the neighborhood over the past several years is paying off in new businesses, residents and a new buzz about its future.

Video from the press conference:

Candidates sought for Burke-Gilman Place Public Development Authority

The City of Seattle is seeking applicants for two (2) at-large positions to the Burke-Gilman Place Public Development Authority (PDA) Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors is responsible for the management of the former Coast Guard property in northeast Seattle, near Children’s Hospital. At present, the property includes two Ronald McDonald House facilities, Provail housing (formerly United Cerebral Palsy), Burke-Gilman Apartments (subsidized and market-rate housing), The Children’s Center (a child care center), and housing under the auspices of the Capital Hill Housing Improvement Program (CHHIP).

The Burke-Gilman Place PDA has been working primarily on maintenance issues since the final buildable parcel was completed. A primary concern is the aesthetic appearance of the PDA’s land and facilities, with special attention to landscaping, proposed alterations to facilities, and signage.

The nine-member Board of Directors includes four (4) positions that are drawn from the user facilities, and the other five (5) are at-large. All positions are mayoral appointments with confirmation by the City Council.

Board meetings are held monthly, on the second Tuesday of the month, from 8 a.m. to about 9:30 a.m. The Board currently meets at the Community Room of the Burke-Gilman Apartments, 5100 40th Avenue, N.E., Seattle, WA.

Please email your letter of interest and resume to:
Please reference Burke-Gilman Place Public Development Authority

To submit a paper copy, please address to:

Kenny Pittman
Office of Intergovernmental Relations
P.O. 94746
Seattle, WA

Mayor Murray statement on the death of Woodland Park Zoo elephant Watoto

Mayor Murray released the following statement about the death of Watoto, a 45-year-old African elephant under the care of Woodland Park Zoo staff:

Watoto“The death of Watoto the elephant is very sad news.

I want to express my condolences to all who loved her,  particularly the animal management staff who cared for her at Woodland Park Zoo. I know this is a very difficult moment for them.

At the same time, I do believe that today’s news should reopen a dialogue in this city about the proper habitat for elephants.”

Pharrell Williams, Soundgarden to perform free ‘NFL Kickoff Concert’ before Seahawks game, Sept. 4


The National Football League has announced a 2014 NFL Kickoff event to be held Thursday, September 4 at CenturyLink Field’s North Lot in Seattle. Activities will begin around 2:30 p.m., prior to the Seahawks’ first game of the 2014-2015 regular season against the Green Bay Packers.

Seattle natives Soundgarden and singer/songwriter/producer Pharrell Williams will perform live. The event is free and open to the public rain or shine. Seahawks ticket holders are encouraged to arrive early and watch the concert from inside the stadium. For more information about this event, please check out or follow @NFL345 on Twitter. Award-winning singer Ariana Grande will sing the National Anthem before the game.

The City of Seattle and the NFL have teamed up to release the following information to help make the event enjoyable, accessible, and safe for everyone:

Prohibited items

  • To ensure public safety and security, the following items are prohibited: weapons, alcohol, food, beverages, all glass containers, fireworks, all chairs, tents of any kind, barbecue grills of any kind, umbrellas, blankets of any kind, cameras with lens over 12”, obstructive signs, bags larger than 12”x6”x12” and animals other than service animals.
  • All attendees are subject to search, and prohibited items may not be abandoned at security checkpoints. Please allow adequate time to pass through security checkpoints before activities begin.

Entry location

General Public:

  • Guests can enter the concert site from 2nd Avenue and South King Street and may watch the performances from the North Lot.
  • The entrances will open to the public beginning at 2:30 pm PT on Thursday, Sept. 4.
  • Guests may view the concert from the general public viewing areas.
  • Access to the general public viewing areas is first come, first served.
  • Fans do not need tickets to attend the free concert.

Seahawks Ticket Holders:

  • Seahawks ticket holders are encouraged to arrive early and watch the concert from inside the stadium, including: North Plaza, Touchdown City or on the in-stadium video boards.
  • Stadium gates will open at 2:30 p.m. for Seahawks fans attending the game.


  • Guests are encouraged to use public transportation and should arrive early to enjoy game day activities and avoid any traffic or parking delays.


  • The disabled drop-off zone is located off the intersection of Railroad Way S. at Occidental Avenue (across from The Pro Shop at CenturyLink Field), from the North via 1st Ave. South.
  • Drivers may drop off passengers next to the stadium prior to the concert.
  • ADA Access to the concert site is located off of Occidental Avenue, at the SW corner of the North Lot.

Road closures


  • Immediately following the concert, all attendees who do not have a ticket to the game will be directed to exit at 2nd Avenue and South King Street, the same location as entry.
  • The Seahawks vs. Packers game will not be broadcast from the concert site at the conclusion of the event.
  • Fans are encouraged to watch the game at local Seattle establishments.

Cell Phone Advisory

  • During special events, cell phone networks can become overloaded making it difficult for someone to reach the 911 Dispatch Center during an emergency.
  • Fans are encouraged to limit routine use of the cell system during the concert, and in particular the sending or receiving of videos.
  • Should an emergency occur, fans are advised to use their phone to call 911, but use text messaging for routine communication.

Next ‘Find It, Fix It’ Community Walk set for Lake City neighborhood Aug. 25

Find It Fix It Community Walk - Rainier Beach

Mayor Ed Murray’s ‘Find It, Fix It’ Community Walk, focused on several crime hotspots, makes its way to a sixth neighborhood in Seattle on Monday, Aug. 25.

At the walks, community residents, police, and city officials walk together to identify physical disorder and solve it. As a result of these walks, Seattle City Light, the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Department of Planning and Development, and Seattle Public Utilities have worked – and continue to work – to make improvements in Seattle’s neighborhoods. Watch videos, view photos and read actions taken as a result of these walks at:

The next Find It, Fix It Community Walk
Monday, Aug. 25, 7 – 8:30 p.m.
NE 125th & 30th St NE
Meet at the Lake City Mini Park (Map)

7 – 7:15 p.m.

Short program featuring Mayor Ed Murray, City Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Sen. David Frockt, Seattle Chief of Police Kathleen O’Toole, and department representatives.

7:15 – 8:30 p.m.

Walk commences along the following route:

  • Head East on on NE 125th
  • North on 33rd Ave NE
  • West on NE 130th St
  • South on 30th Ave NE
  • West on NE 127th St
  • South on 28th Ave NE
  • East on NE 125th St

8:30 p.m.

Walk concludes and department representatives are available for follow-up questions.

Future ‘Find It, Fix It’ walks will be held on Sept. 11th in the International District and on Sept. 17th on Capitol Hill.

For more information on Murray’s public safety strategy for Seattle, visit

Mayor Murray statement on the latest charging of Ali Muhammad Brown

Mayor Murray today issued the following statement in the wake of the latest charges filed against Ali Muhammad Brown:

“Today, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office filed additional charges against Ali Muhammad Brown, the man charged with the murder of Ahmed Said and Dwone Anderson-Young in Leschi on June 1, 2014. Today, Brown was also charged with the murder of Leroy Henderson in Skyway on April 27.

Ali Muhammad Brown took the lives of three members of our community, and, with these charges, he will face justice.

The charging documents reveal disturbing details about Brown’s motive for committing these murders, which appears to have based on anti-American sentiment and an extreme interpretation of the Muslim faith. While Brown invoked his faith, we must be clear that Brown’s views and his actions do not reflect the values of Muslims.

In this moment of grief, we, as one community, across all faiths and religions races and ethnicities, genders and sexual orientations, can and must renew our resolve to stand firm against violence and hatred of all kinds.”