Mayor Murray Signs Executive Order Affirming Seattle’s Welcoming City Policies

Mayor signs executive order

Today, Mayor Ed Murray signed an Executive Order reaffirming Seattle as a welcoming city. The order states that City employees will not ask about the status of residents and all City services will be available to all residents, and it creates an Inclusive and Equitable City Cabinet that will coordinate City efforts to protect the civil liberties and civil rights of Seattle residents. Additionally, the City will set aside $250,000 to address the needs of unauthorized immigrant students enrolled in Seattle Public Schools and their families.

“Except for our Native Peoples, we are all from someplace else, and we are strong because of our diversity,” said Mayor Murray. “It is my commitment that Seattle will remain a welcoming city, not a place where children and their families live in fear. This Thanksgiving we reaffirm our values of inclusion and equity and our City policies that reflect them. All our friends, neighbors, colleagues, and families should feel safe and welcome when they need services, contact our police and fire departments, or interact with the City in other ways. And we will work to provide our immigrant students with the support they and their families need.”

Learn more about Seattle’s Welcoming City policies

The Executive Order directs City employees and departments on the following items:

  • City employees will not ask residents seeking City services about immigration status, unless police officers have a reasonable suspicion that a person is committing or has committed a felony criminal-law violation.
  • City employees will serve all residents and services will remain accessible to all residents, regardless of immigration status, ancestry, race, ethnicity, national origin, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender variance, marital status, physical or mental disability, or religion.
  • Seattle Police officers will continue to defer detainer requests from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement to King County, as jails are in King County’s jurisdiction.
  • City departments will issue a letter to all contractors receiving General Fund dollars to clarify and inform about these policies.
  • An Inclusive and Equitable City Cabinet will be created, made up of representatives from:
    • Seattle Police Department,
    •  Office of Civil Rights,
    • Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs,
    • Office of Labor Standards,
    • Department of Neighborhoods,
    • Office of Economic Development,
    • Office of Policy and Innovation,
    • City Budget Office,
    • Office of Intergovernmental Relations,
    • Department of Education and Early Learning, and
    • Seattle Human Services Department
  • The Inclusive and Equitable City Cabinet develop a programmatic investment strategy for $250,000 to directly address the needs of unauthorized immigrant children in Seattle Public Schools and their families.
  • The Inclusive and Equitable City Cabinet will develop public awareness efforts around hate speech and crimes; review potential implications on City departments of any new initiatives and intent of the incoming Presidential administration; collaborate with immigrant and refugee communities to identify areas of need and new or expanded efforts for partnership; and develop a specific agenda and action plan to help the Mayor build a coalition of cities during the upcoming West Coast Mayor’s Summit and the U.S. Conference of Mayors gatherings.Read the entire Executive Order here.
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Mayor Murray Directs Negotiation of Civic Square Deal, Proceeds to Fund Equitable Development and Affordable Housing

Today, Mayor Ed Murray sent a mayoral directive to Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) to negotiate the sale of the Civic Square project to Bosa Development and direct the proceeds to establish a new Equitable Development Fund. The sale would also net $5.7 million in funds for affordable housing, meeting or exceeding the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program requirement. Combined, nearly $22 million from this sale will go to equity and affordability projects around the City.


“Seattle is growing and we are working to ensure that it happens in a way that is equitable, benefiting everyone who lives and works here,” said Mayor Murray. “The sale of the Civic Square property allows us to leverage our resources to invest in communities most at-risk for displacement and to make a major investment in affordable housing. While we continue to revitalize our downtown core, we are strategically investing around the city to strengthen our communities for the future.”

The Equitable Development Fund will be established with the $16 million in proceeds from the sale, and used as part of the Equitable Development Initiative (EDI), which helps ensure Seattle’s existing residents and businesses also enjoy the benefits of development around the city, rather than being displaced by it. These funds will go to community-driven projects such as a cultural center for long-time residents to maintain neighborhood character or a job training program focused on good-paying jobs in the community.

The Office of Planning and Community Development and FAS will work with Council and the community to develop a plan for using the net proceeds from the sale. The additional $5.7 million will go to the Office of Housing to leverage other funding for building affordable housing.

The agreement with Bosa Development replaces the 2007 agreement with Triad Civic Center LLC, which had been hindered by the economic recession and a lack of capital partners. Under the terms of the new agreement, Bosa will develop a residential tower that will include the Civic Square Plaza, as well as retail space. The City will maintain the rights to approve the final design. The City expects to send the agreement to Council for approval in early 2017, with the expectation that it will be finalized by June. Construction would start in 2018.

“Bosa’s vision for this project is slightly different than what was originally planned, which is why the City believes it has a greater chance to succeed,” said FAS Director Fred Podesta. “Office space construction in this area has brought a new and higher demand for housing and public amenities, and Bosa is bringing that to the table. We believe this site is the perfect location to meet that need, as it is close to transit and vibrant, diverse neighborhoods, including Downtown, Pioneer Square, the Chinatown-International District and First Hill.”

Watch the press conference here

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City encourages residents to prepare for weekend weather

With high-winds and rain predicted for Seattle and much of the Pacific Northwest this weekend, it is recommended that residents take extra precautions at home and when out. Residents should defer traveling during the storm, avoid and report downed power lines and trees, and be cautious near areas experiencing flooding.

Latest modeling shows a chance for heavy winds to arrive in the Seattle area as early as 5 PM on Saturday, October 15 and lasting throughout the evening. For the most current weather updates please visit the National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Office, Impact Briefing for Seattle. For up to date information impacting the City of Seattle please visit or Alert.Seattle.gov.

Storm Safety Information
• Please call 911 to report downed lines, do not touch or attempt to remove lines that have fallen during the storm.

• If you lose power at home, please call (206) 684-3000 to report the outage or call the Power Outage Hotline at (206) 684-7400 to hear a recorded message with power restoration updates.

• Because of the timing of tomorrow’s storm, there may be challenges with travel throughout the city tomorrow evening and Sunday morning.

• For individuals using life-sustaining and medical equipment, please contact and register with your utility company. For more information call (206) 684-3020.

• Remember to treat intersections that are impacted by power outages as four-way stops.

• Check the Metro and Sound Transit websites for any impacts to your transit routes.

• Maintain gutters, downspouts, rain barrels, private culverts by keeping them clean, flowing and directed away from properties and hillsides.

• Keep storm drains free of leaves and other debris to prevent streets from flooding. Be sure to stay out of the road when raking.

• All Seattle Parks and Recreation grass athletic fields, including West Seattle Stadium, will be closed through the weekend. Most importantly, please remember to safe and use extreme caution outdoors. Parks officials encourage residents to avoid Seattle parks entirely this weekend due to the high-winds.

• Seattle Parks has cancelled programs and activities in parks across the system. For the most up-to-date information please visit seattle.gov/parks

• Generally, we want to remind you that if you do lose power, keep grills, camping stoves and generators outside. Fuel burning appliances are sources of carbon monoxide, a dangerous and poisonous gas.

• Have an emergency preparedness kit ready to help you get through until power is restored

• Storms can create a storm surge impacting high-tide. For information pertaining to tides visit NOAA.

• A temporary, emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness will be open at the Seattle Center Fisher Pavilion – near 2nd & Thomas, south of Key Arena. The co-ed adult shelter will open on Saturday and Sunday from 7 PM to 7AM. This shelter can accommodate 100 people.

• King County Shelter for adult males has expanded capacity to serve 50 additional men Friday through Tuesday, 10/14 – 10/18. The King County Shelter is located at the King County Administration Building at 500 4th Avenue in Seattle. The shelter opens at 7 PM.

• The City Hall Co-ed shelter at 600 4th Ave in Seattle will expand capacity Friday through Tuesday 10/14 – 10/18 with an emphasis on accommodating women seeking shelter. The shelter is open from 7PM to 6AM.

• Sign up and use AlertSeattle at alert.seattle.gov for up-to-date information from the City of Seattle

• The City will have additional staff and crews available throughout the evening and weekend to respond to emergencies as they arise. The Seattle Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center will be activated throughout the weekend.

Additional preparedness information can be found at: Take Winter by Storm – www.takewinterbystorm.org or What to do to make it through – http://makeitthrough.org/

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Mayor Ed Murray: It’s time for a long-term plan to address homelessness (Op-Ed)

This week, Mayor Ed Murray wrote an article for Seattle Met’s Publicola addressing the state of emergency (SOE) on homelessness, the City’s efforts to find innovative solutions that connect people with services and housing and the creation of a cabinet-level position to develop a long-term strategy to make homelessness a short and rare experience for as few people as possible:

Over the last year since the SOE declaration, we have aimed to address homelessness from many different angles. The SOE focused on increasing the number of shelter beds available to those experiencing homelessness, making services and treatment more readily available, and laying the groundwork for a long-term plan to get more people into steady housing. We know we can do this work better, and serve those living outside better by doing so.

We have run into some road blocks and some expected challenges, but at each juncture have directed our response with two main goals in mind: reduce harm as much as possible and house as many people as possible. With that in mind, we have set out to develop a long-term strategy that will help those currently experiencing homelessness, and divert those who might be on the pathway toward it.

This week, I announced a major piece of that effort by hiring the city’s first Director of Homelessness, George Scarola. This cabinet-level position is responsible for leading the city’s efforts to address homelessness by providing oversight and evaluation of outcomes, strategic guidance, and leading community engagement. The Director will be able to identify and implement institutional changes that ensure we are achieving these outcomes for those who have lived for too long without access to housing.

Read the full article HERE.

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Mayor Murray announces planned usage of Myers Way property in Southwest Seattle

Following months of community input, Mayor Ed Murray today announced the planned usage for the Myers Way property in Southwest Seattle.

“Thank you to those who shared their input on the future of the Myers Way property,” said Murray. “The City will retain the land, dedicating the four-acre northernmost portion for important fire training needs and expanding the Joint Training Facility. The remainder of the property will be retained and designated for open space and/or recreation purposes, consistent with the community response provided through our outreach. At a future date, Seattle Parks and Recreation will conduct further public outreach to determine how best to use the property.”

Seattle Parks and Recreation does not currently have resources needed to immediately repurpose the site, but the Department will retain the property as one of its “land banked” sites. Holding such properties ensures that valuable open space is not lost, even if resources for repurposing the property are not immediately available.

The Myers Way property is one of the largest pieces of undeveloped City-owned land and is adjacent to the Seattle-White Center border.

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Murray hires new Communications Director, head of Intergovernmental Relations

Benton Strong from the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. to relocate on August 1; mayoral staffer Chris Gregorich to become City’s new top lobbyist

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced two major personnel changes to his executive team today. Benton Strong, who currently serves as Managing Director of Communications at the Center for American Progress (CAP), a respected think tank in Washington, D.C., has been named the new Communications Director in the Mayor’s Office. Chris Gregorich, who currently serves as Director for Strategic Initiatives in the Mayor’s Office, will become the Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (OIR), replacing Nick Harper, who has announced that he is leaving his position for a new position outside the city with a regional focus.

“I am pleased to add the talents and deep experience of Benton Strong to our senior team in the Mayor’s Office,” Murray said. “He is one of the best and brightest, and will play an instrumental role in moving the City’s progressive agenda forward.”

Strong, a Seattle native who grew up in Yesler Terrace before earning a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington, is a skilled and experienced communications professional. Previously, he served as National Press Secretary for the Climate Action campaign, and as Communications Director for the Washington State Democrats during Gov. Jay Inslee’s gubernatorial race in 2012.

“I am really happy to be returning home to Seattle to join the administration of Mayor Murray. Whether it is leading on adopting a $15 minimum wage, developing a Grand Bargain between developers and affordable housing advocates to tackle Seattle’s housing affordability issues, or passing historic transit and transportation packages to ensure Seattle has the infrastructure in place to cope with growth, Mayor Murray has demonstrated time and again that he knows how to bring disparate interests together to build consensus around solving important issues. I look forward to helping further those efforts,” Strong said.

Strong will return to Seattle and start work with the City on August 1. In the interim, Jeff Reading, who served as Mayor Murray’s first Communications Director, will provide communication staff support on an eight week, part-time contract through Strategies 360, the public affairs firm where he is Vice President of Communications. The $20,000 contract will be funded by savings accrued through vacancies in the Mayor’s Office.

Strong will be paid a salary of $135,000 per year. Gregorich’s salary will be $145,000 per year.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time running the City of Seattle’s multi-tiered governmental outreach agenda, but I’ve been wanting to get back to my home in Snohomish County and this opportunity was too good to pass up,” said Harper, a former state legislator from Everett who will become Director of Strategic Affairs and Governmental Advocacy for the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish County.

“Nick Harper is a dedicated and dynamic leader who leaves a legacy,” said Murray. “Nick is a trusted advisor, having served as my Deputy Leader in the Senate. He was instrumental in securing ST3 authority in the Legislature, in passing the largest statewide transportation package in Washington history, and in coordinating our first-ever West Coast coalition on homelessness. I’ll miss having him as part of my Administration, but he will remain a close friend and advisor. I wish him the best in his new position. The City is fortunate that, while we’re losing Nick, we have such an experienced problem solver and strategic thinker in Chris Gregorich available to replace him.”

 

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Mayor proposes gunshot detection pilot program

Mayor Ed Murray has heard from communities that the City must take new actions to improve response to shots fired in neighborhoods most impacted by gun violence, including the Central District and Rainier Valley.

Today, on Gun Violence Awareness Day, the mayor is launching a process to bring an acoustic gunshot detection pilot program to the City of Seattle. The mayor will also work with the Seattle City Council to require that all surplus firearms from the Seattle Police Department are only sold to other law enforcement agencies.

“While Seattle remains a very safe city, we owe it to our young people to explore all technology tools that can save a life or take a gun off the streets,” said Mayor Murray. “We have seen gunshot locators work effectively in other cities. We will work with our neighborhoods to gauge their interest in participating in the pilot project, as we protect the privacy of all residents.”

Gunshot locators actively listen for gunshots and detect the exact location where guns are fired. Unlike reports from nearby residents who may be uncertain, these systems’ advanced technology reliably report when and where the shots were fired. A video camera attached to the system is activated to capture the incident. Law enforcement authorities are notified immediately and a police officer can be dispatched to the vicinity without delay.

The mayor will send the City Council legislation required to implement a pilot project.

“At almost every community meeting where I have discussed installing an acoustic gunshot locator system, I have received overwhelming positive feedback,” said Council President Bruce Harrell. “I want to make it crystal clear we will work thoroughly with privacy advocates on the operational and data management protocols to ensure the public’s privacy and civil liberties are protected.”

“My constituents city-wide have expressed concern over safety, as well as an interest in innovations intended to keep communities safe,” said Councilmember M. Lorena González, Chair of the Safe Communities committee.  “Given the increased trends in shots fired, gun violence injuries and gun-related deaths in Seattle, I stand firmly behind initiatives to reduce senseless violence. I look forward to working with Mayor Murray on his efforts to increase our City’s security.”

Last year, community members, including the United Clergy and the Urban League, urged the city to consider technology solutions that may help Seattle Police Department respond to shots fired and identify persons of interest.

“We know that gunshot detection systems have helped reduce gun violence in other cities,” said Rev. Harriett Walden, founder, Mothers for Police Accountability. “It’s time that we give this technology a try in Seattle. We owe it to our children to take every step possible to keep them safe.”

Community feedback will be critical to designing the system, deciding where it is deployed, and defining how it functions. Working with the community, the City will to use its race and social justice toolkit during the assessment of the pilot program. The City will engage with civil liberties advocates and ensure that it complies with the City’s existing privacy policy.

“I know from experience that technology, when paired with prevention, intervention and enforcement strategies, can effectively support public safety efforts,” said Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole. “An automated gunshot detection pilot program can help our officers and detectives working to reduce gun violence in our city by improving shots fired response times and identifying shooters.”

Since the beginning of the year, 144 incidents of shots fired have been reported in Seattle. Five people have been killed and another 24 have been injured. Of the 69 people who have been assaulted by someone with a firearm, more than half of all victims are under the age of 30 and are African American.

During that same period in 2015, 154 incidents of shots fired were reported, resulting in two deaths and 27 injuries.

This year, concentrated areas of shots reported include the Rainier Valley, the Central District and in South Park.  Shots are most frequently reported in the evening hours on Fridays and Saturdays.

For the first three months of this year, Seattle police have seized 438 guns, an increase of 77 in the first 5 months of 2015.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has issued a Request for Proposals to gather interest from potential contractors who could construct the system. If deployed, the system would be paid for with a federal grant.

Similar systems are deployed in at least 67 other cities across the nation. Law enforcement agencies report instant notification of gunfire, high accuracy of reported locations, and reduced police response times.

The mayor will also send legislation to Council that requires surplus Seattle Police Department firearms can only be sold to another law enforcement agency. Under existing City policy, when a Seattle police officer turns in a service weapon, it cannot be resold to in the State of Washington.

“Speaking as a mother and as a proud Grandmother Against Gun Violence I believe we all must do everything in our power–politically and personally — to create safer communities, which means championing safe gun ownership,” said Councilmember Bagshaw. “Mayor Murray and I have worked tirelessly to leverage our purchasing power to push for the most responsible firearm policies being practiced via the firearm resolution.”

“Yet again, Washington State and Seattle are on the cutting edge of common sense, just and visionary social policy,” said Rabbi Daniel Weiner of Temple De Hirsch Sinai. “The prioritizing of citizen safety and freedom from fear over the influence and financial inducements of the gun industry and their lobby reflects more than good governance—it is a fulfillment of the ultimate promise of righteous leadership to its deserving constituency.”

The resolution will also require that the City of Seattle only purchases firearms and ammunition from dealers that take steps to reduce gun violence and are fully compliant with all federal and state laws, including background checks for all buyers.

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Mayor urges donations for those injured in Aurora Bridge crash

Mayor Ed Murray today called on the community to join in support those injured the Aurora Bridge crash. United Way of King County has established the Sept. 24 Aurora Collision Relief Fund,
with all proceeds to support patients and their families. Donations can be made at: www.uwkc.org/aurora

The Sept. 24th crash on the Aurora Bridge has devastated the lives of families from abroad and here in Seattle and King County. Many patients and their families are struggling to meet their most basic needs as they try to recover from this tragedy and stabilize their lives. Several patients will require long-term medical care. The international students, other visitors from overseas and their families who speak little or no English have unique needs for housing, transportation and meals.

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“Our hearts go out to those injured, many of whom came from countries around the world to visit or study in Seattle,” said Mayor Murray. “For many of these families, the long-term medical expenses will be considerable, not to mention the immediate needs associated with hospital stays and travel expenses. As a compassionate city, this community is already coming together to provide much-needed support.”

uwkc-logo“United Way of King County is all about bringing people together to give, volunteer and take action to help people in need,” said Jon Fine CEO of United Way of King County.  “This tragic accident provides us all an opportunity to help stabilize families’ lives and help to build the kind of community we want all want to live in. I hope people will consider giving their time and funds to make that happen.”

Delta Airlines and Alaska Airlines have provided flights to reunite families after the crash. T-Mobile has provided international phone services to keep families connected. RealNetworks Foundation has made a sizeable financial donation to kick start relief efforts.

The Seattle Hotel Association has coordinated the donations of rooms at numerous hotels, including: Travelodge Seattle Center, Clise Properties, Hilton Seattle, Silver Cloud Lake Union, Marqueen/Inn at Queen Anne, Hotel Nexus, Waterfront Marriott, Inn at Virginia Mason, Motif Seattle, Homewood Suites, Alexis Hotel, Silver Cloud Broadway, Pan Pacific Hotel, Pineapple Hotels – Hotel Five, Best Western Executel – Airport, and Mayflower Park Hotel.

Several restaurants, including Munchery, Poquitos, Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Rhein Haus and Canlis have donated food to families and first responders.

City of Seattle employees will be giving to the United Way relief fund through the established Seattle Shares charitable giving campaign.

Because of the outpouring of support and requests to make financial contributions, the Foundation for the Seattle Colleges has set up a fund to aid North Seattle College students and staff in need. To make a financial contribution to this fund, please visit the North Seattle College or Seattle Colleges websites. All proceeds will go directly toward helping the students and staff involved in the accident.

“We are extremely grateful for the words of condolence and offers to help our students and staff,” said Seattle Colleges Chancellor Jill Wakefield. “The outpouring of support for our college community has been astounding, and we are blessed that we have the opportunity to share the burden of grief.”

To honor the five North Seattle College students who lost their lives and to support the students and staff still recovering from their injuries, North Seattle College and Student Leadership have invited the community to a vigil tonight at 6 p.m. The vigil will be held in the North Seattle College courtyard and is open to all.

On Thursday, Mayor Murray and many in Seattle will observe a moment of silence at 11:15 a.m. to reflect on those injured and killed in last week’s tragedy.

Donations can be made at: www.uwkc.org/aurora

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Mayor Murray discusses race relations in America on CBS Evening News

Yesterday, Mayor Murray participated in a CBS Evening News panel about race relations in America along with Mayor Lester Taylor of East Orange, NJ; Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson of Gary, Indiana; and Mayor Carlos Gimenez of Miami-Dade County. CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley hosted the conversation:

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Mayor Murray on MSNBC’s ‘The Last Word’ with Lawrence O’Donnell

Last night, Mayor Murray and economist Robert Reich appeared on MSNBC’s ‘The Last Word’ with host Lawrence O’Donnell to chat about election results and the possibility of a federal minimum wage increase.

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