Mayor Murray Statement on Court Hearing Regarding City’s Progress in Fulfilling Federal Consent Decree

Mayor Ed Murray released the following statement about today’s Federal Court hearing regarding the Consent Decree:

“Today Judge Robart affirmed that the Seattle Police Department, under the leadership of Chief O’Toole, is making significant progress on police reform, rebuilding community trust and becoming a national model for urban policing.

“The direction today from Judge Robart was clear: any reforms must align with the consent decree and be approved by the Court. As planned, I will be working with the Department of Justice, Federal Monitor, CPC, labor unions and City Attorney to achieve meaningful reforms to our civilian oversight system and improve accountability.”

 

 

Joint statement on proposed police accountability and civilian oversight legislation

Today Mayor Ed Murray, the Community Police Commission, the Chief of Police, the OPA Director and the OPA Auditor, with input from the City Attorney’s Office, announced that they have reached an agreement on joint police accountability reform legislation to be transmitted to Council. The joint legislative proposal represents the shared vision of the City of Seattle.

CPC Co-Chair Reverend Harriett Walden stated: “Credit is due to the years of community activism to demand Constitutional policing for the people of Seattle. This legislation is a direct response to the community’s call for meaningful and sustained police reform.”

Mayor Murray stated: “Improving our police accountability and civilian oversight system is one of the critical pieces of my goal to make the Seattle Police Department the national model for urban policing. I want to thank the CPC, Chief O’Toole, Pierce Murphy and City Attorney Holmes for their hard work to bring this to fruition. I now plan to consult with the Department of Justice, Federal Monitor and police labor unions to ensure that our joint proposal is fully aligned with the consent decree.”

“We will submit our legislative proposal to Council for consideration at the City Council’s Public Safety Committee hearing on July 15,” said CPC Executive Director Fé Lopez.

The legislation will:

• Make the CPC the permanent, independent civilian oversight body over the police accountability system.
• Consolidate case review of OPA investigations under the OPA Auditor and incorporate other functions of the OPA Review Board into the CPC.
• Strengthen the role and independence of OPA.
• Implement additional mechanisms that support transparency and accountability.

City identifies public lands for permitted encampment sites

Today Mayor Ed Murray released a map of City-owned properties most suitable for new permitted encampments to serve at least 200 individuals experiencing homelessness. The mayor will transmit a resolution on the encampment sites to the Seattle City Council tomorrow.

The three preferred City-owned sites for 2015 are:

  • 2826 NW Market Street for approximately 52 residents.
  • 3234 17th Avenue W for approximately 70 residents.
  • Industrial Way between 5th and 6th Avenue S for approximately 78 residents.

Four City-owned sites were identified as potential future locations:

  • 8030 15th Avenue NW for approximately 36 residents.
  • 3830 4th Avenue NE for approximately 64 residents.
  • 7115 2nd Avenue SW for approximately 95 residents.
  • 7110 Rainier Avenue S for approximately 32 residents.

“Permitted encampments are not a permanent solution to the crisis of homelessness we are experiencing in Seattle,” said Murray. “These encampments will provide a safer community environment than sleeping under a highway overpass or on a park bench. Residents will have improved access to services and we hope to open the door to permanent housing as quickly as we can.”

This year the mayor proposed and the City Council unanimously adopted an ordinance that allows up to three permitted encampments of no more than 100 persons each on City-owned or private property. Each location will be permitted for one year, with the possibility of permit renewal for an additional year. Each site must be vacant for one year between encampments.

“The One Night Count, tells us that there were over 2800 people in our community living without shelter this year,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “Identifying city-owned sites for transitional encampments is an important next step. I look forward to working with community to establish up to three sites where people can stay safely and in community as we seek permanent housing solutions.”

“I am right by Mayor Murray’s side as we create safe spaces for community members who are without shelter,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. “Managed encampments will offer the most basic resources for people, such as a 24-hour shelter with public health services, hygiene facilities, and potentially access to electricity. I wholeheartedly support this approach which will make our city better for all of us.”

Before recommending the sites, Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development reviewed more than 135 vacant City-owned parcels. The ordinance adopted by the Council limits encampment locations to unused property in non-residential zones, excluding park properties. Each encampment must be at least one mile from other legal encampments.

The City estimates that one-time start-up costs for the encampments will be $32,000, with annual lease costs and services for encampment residents of approximately $200,000 already provided in the 2015 budget.

Seattle’s Human Services Department (HSD) has selected two encampment operators through a qualification review process: SHARE and Nickelsville. The encampment ordinance requires that operators have prior experience managing shelters, low-income housing or homeless encampments. The Murray Administration continues to reach out to other faith-based and non-profit organizations that may be interested in operating an encampment.

The encampment operators are responsible for safety and security within the camp and residents will be screened by the operators for acceptance. A third organization, Low Income Housing Institute, will provide case management services to individuals living in the encampments.

HSD contractors and staff will make regular site visits to support SHARE and Nickelsville, and coordinate public health, medical outreach and food assistance.

“A place to store your things, sit and talk with friends, and rest your head at night are taken for granted by most of us,” said Mark Putnam of the Committee to End Homelessness in King County. “For many, however, these are not givens. Encampments can offer a temporary safe place for people to be human, while working to get back into stable housing.”

“The Mayor rightly sees the crisis facing people experiencing homelessness as requiring a response that includes the safety and community of sanctioned encampments,” said Michael Ramos of the Church Council of Greater Seattle. “We welcome this step to expand the continuum of care to meet this most basic of human needs.”

Encampment operators will form a Community Advisory Committee to respond to community concerns, review operations standards, and work with neighbors when encampments move to new permitted sites.

More information is available on HSD’s website.

Every American is free to marry

Today Mayor Ed Murray delivered the following remarks from Seattle City Hall after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the right of all Americans to marry the person they love:IMG_7653

“Good morning. Today I am able to say to Americans what I said to Washingtonians the day we signed our marriage equality bill: welcome to the other side of the rainbow. America is a place where you can dream dreams that really do come true.

“I want to thank the United States Supreme Court for affirming our constitutional right to marriage. I want to thank President Obama for his leadership and showing courage in his own personal journey on our issue.

“I am so proud of the Washington State Legislature and the Washington state voters who led this nation on this issue. It was our legislature and our voters who were the first to overturn DOMA. It was our voters on that election night – along with voters in Maine and Maryland – who by a vote of the people affirmed the right of gay and lesbian families to full equality. I want to particularly call out the legislators who I served with, particularly Jamie Pederson and Senator Mary Margaret Haugen, who was the 25th vote and paid the ultimate price by losing her election for her heroic stand.

“This journey has been historic, it has been long, it has not been easy and it has often been painful. But we are here today because of the courageous families – gay, lesbian, transgender and straight – who told the stories of their lives and changed hearts and minds of legislators, voters, and ultimately justices of the United States Supreme Court.

“Those everyday heroes showed that democracy still lies in the hands of people. It lies in those who are willing to organize, those who are willing to conduct campaigns, and those who are willing to go the ballot box and vote. We can still make a difference. I think that is an important message today at a time when our country struggles with so many issues. There is no reason to engage in the politics of futility. If we learned anything, we can make a difference by taking control of that ballot box.

“The American journey has not always been easy. It has always been a struggle to more inclusion and more equality. From the day the Constitution was signed to this day, that journey has led in one direction. And today we are one step closer to its fulfillment.

“While today feels like a very political moment, ultimately it is about something very personal to all of us. I thanked many people, and I want to thank my husband, Michael.

“I think Justice Kennedy expressed it best in the opinion released today. He said, ‘No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, they respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.’

“To all who brought us to this moment over many decades – those who worked, those who protested, those who organized and those who are not here with us anymore – thank you. Thank you to the state of Washington for leading and God bless the United States of America.”

 

Mayor invites public to sign condolence book to Charleston

Today Mayor Ed Murray invited the people of Seattle to sign a condolence book to the people of Charleston in honor of the nine victims killed at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Murray urges Seattle residents to send messages of support to the victims’ families and all of Charleston.

“The people of Seattle feel utter revulsion over this vicious act,” said Murray. “But we cannot dismiss this tragedy as merely the product of racist extremism. We must also acknowledge and address the uncomfortable truth of racism and racial inequity here in Seattle and across the country.”

Through its Race and Social Justice Initiative, the City of Seattle continues a commitment to acknowledge our own history of racial inequity, end institutional racism within City government, and work with the community and with other governments to achieve racial equity.

Beginning at 4 p.m. today through July 10, the condolence book will be available in the lobby of Seattle City Hall. Public are invited to sign between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Cooling shelter locations announced ahead of heat wave

The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Watch for Seattle and surrounding areas from Friday afternoon through late Saturday night. The City of Seattle is providing information and public spaces that may be used by residents to stay cool in the high temperatures.

Stay hydrated

  • Drink plenty of water. Have a beverage with you at all times, and sip or drink frequently. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol and large amounts of sugar because they can actually de-hydrate your body.

Protect your pets

Pets are especially vulnerable in high heat and the Seattle Animal Shelter recommends the following:

  • Never leave your animal chained or penned up directly in sunlight. Provide a shady area for retreat, such as a dog house, porch or shady tree, and always provide cool water.
  • If you leave animals indoors, open screened windows, keep a fan running, provide plenty of water, and if possible, leave them in a cool location.
  • Never leave dogs or cats unattended in a closed, locked car. Animals do not perspire like humans; they cool themselves by panting and seats in vehicles get hot under animals’ feet and prevent them from perspiring through their paws.
  • If you must travel with your pet, carry water. If a trip requires you leave your pet in the car at any point, think about saving that for another day. It’s not worth the risk.
  • Avoid overexerting your animal in hot weather. Exercise is fine when taken in moderation, but obesity, old age, underlying disease and previous bouts of heat stroke can predispose an animal to the condition.
  • For birds, take caution and place the bird’s cage away from direct sunlight during the intense heat of the afternoon. Provide water and fruits and vegetables with high moisture content.

Libraries

The following Seattle Public Library locations are equipped with air conditioning, and serve as cooling centers when the area experiences extreme heat. Please call the individual location before you go for open hours and to verify that the air conditioning is working.

  • Central Library (1000 4th Ave) – 206-386-4636
  • Ballard (5614 22nd Ave NW) – 206-684-4089
  • Beacon Hill (2821 Beacon Ave S) – 206-684-4711
  • Broadview (12755 Greenwood Ave N) – 206-684-7519
  • Capitol Hill (425 Harvard Ave E) – 206-684-4715
  • Delridge (5423 Delridge Way SW) – 206-733-9125
  • Douglass-Truth (2300 E Yesler Way) – 206-684-4704
  • Greenwood (8016 Greenwood Ave N) – 206-684-4086
  • High Point (3411 SW Raymond St) – 206-684-7454
  • International District / Chinatown (713 8th Ave S) – 206-386-1300
  • Lake City (12501 28th Ave NE) – 206-684-7518
  • Madrona-Sally Goldmark (1134 33rd Ave) – 206-684-4705
  • Magnolia (2801 34th Ave W) – 206-386-4225
  • NewHolly (7058 32nd Ave S) – 206-386-1905
  • Northgate (10548 5th Ave NE) – 206-386-1980
  • Rainier Beach (9125 Rainier Ave S) – 206-386-1906
  • South Park (8604 8th Ave S) – 206-615-1688
  • Wallingford (1501 N 45th St) – 206-684-4088

Seattle Center (View the campus map PDF at http://www.seattlecenter.com/downloads/sc_map_color_gates.pdf) – 206-684-7200

  • Seattle Center Armory (Open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.)
  • International Fountain
  • Fountain of Creation (Dupen Fountain)

Senior Centers

The following senior centers have air conditioning or are relatively cool and are open to the public:

  • Greenwood Senior Center (525 N. 8th Street)
  • International Drop-In Center (7301 Beacon Ave S.)
  • Pike Market Senior Center and Food Bank (85 Pike St, #200)
  • Ballard NW Senior Center (5429 32nd Ave NW)
  • Southeast Seattle Senior Center (4655 South Holly St)
  • The Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon St)
  • South Park Senior Center (8201 10th Ave S)
  • Wallingford Community Senior Center (4649 Sunnyside Ave N, Suite 140)
  • The Central (500 30th Ave S)
  • Asian Counseling and Referral Service Senior Center (3639 Martin Luther King Way S.)
  • Sunshine Garden Chinese Senior Community Center (611 S. Lane St.) housed in the Chinese Information and Service Center.

Pools and Water Areas

Four-day-a-week Wading Pools (both are open noon to 6:45 p.m.):

  • Hiawatha Community Center, 2700 California Ave. SW, Wed/Thurs/Fri/Sat
  • Delridge Community Center, 4501 Delridge Way SW, Mon/Tues/Sat/Sun

Three-day-a-week Wading Pools (all are open from noon to 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted):

  • Bitter Lake, 13035 Linden Ave. N, Wed/Thu/Fri
  • Cal Anderson Park, 1635 11th Ave., noon to 6:45 p.m., Fri/Sat/Sun
  • Dahl Playfield, 7700 25th Ave. NE, Tues/Wed/Thurs
  • East Queen Anne, 160 Howe St., Sun/Mon/Tue
  • E.C. Hughes, 2805 SW Holden St., Wed/Thu/Fri
  • Soundview, 1590 NW 90th St., Sat/Sun/Mon
  • South Park, 8319 8th Ave. S, Mon/Tue/Wed
  • Wallingford, 4219Wallingford Ave. N, Wed/Thu/Fri

Daily Wading Pools (all are open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted):

  • Green Lake, N 73rd and E Green Lake Dr. N
  • Lincoln Park, 8600 Fauntleroy Ave. SW
  • Magnuson, eastern end of NE 65th St., noon to 6:30 p.m.
  • Van Asselt, 2820 S Myrtle St.
  • Volunteer Park, 1400 E Galer St.

Daily Water Spray Parks (all are open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted):

  • Ballard Commons, 5701 22nd Ave. NW
  • Beacon Mountain at Jefferson Park, 3901 Beacon Ave. S
  • John C. Little, 6961 37th Ave. S
  • Lower Judkins, 2150 S Norman St.
  • Georgetown Playfield, 750 S Homer St.
  • Highland Park, 1100 SW Cloverdale
  • Lake Union Park, 860 Terry Ave. N
  • Miller Community Center, 330 19th Ave. E
  • Northacres Park, 12800 1st Ave. NE
  • Pratt Park, 1800 S Main St.

Lifeguarded Beaches  (noon to 7 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays)

  • Matthews, 9300 51st Ave. NE
  • Madison, 1900 43rd Ave. E
  • Baker, 2301 Lake Washington Blvd. S
  • Seward, 5902 Lake Washington Blvd. S
  • West Green Lake, 7312 W Green Lake Dr.
  • East Green Lake, 7201 E Green Lake Dr. N
  • Magnuson, park entrance at NE 65th and Sand Point Way NE
  • Madrona, 853 Lake Washington Blvd.
  • Pritchard Beach, 8400 55th S

Outdoor Pools

  • “Pop” Mounger Pool, 2535 32nd W, daily, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., call 206-684-4708 for public swim times
  • Colman Pool, 8603 Fauntleroy Way SW, daily, noon to 7 p.m., call 206-684-7494 for public swim times

Additional resources

Mayor introduces new legislation requiring places of public accommodation to designate all-gender restrooms

Today Mayor Ed Murray introduced legislation that would require all City-controlled and privately operated places of public accommodation to designate existing or future single-occupant restrooms as all-gender facilities. All existing City-controlled single-occupant restrooms (across all City departments, from City Hall to Parks) will be re-signed to conform to this new standard. The proposal was one that was introduced to the City by the Seattle LGBT Commission as part of its ongoing work, and is one of the early recommendations from the Mayor’s LGBT Task Force.

“The transgender community deserves the dignity and respect that most people take for granted,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “That’s why Seattle is building upon our history of being one of the most welcoming cities in the world by ensuring restrooms are available and safe for all.”

This legislation is a powerful and appropriate step in serving the needs of our time and place,” said Marsha Botzer, founding member and secretary of Equal Rights Washington, former chair of the National LGBTQ Task Force, and Founder of Seattle’s Ingersoll Gender Center. “With gender identity now part of a larger Community understanding of what it means to be human, Seattle provides real leadership in responding to and respecting the safety needs of all people who live here.  For decades Ingersoll Gender Center has served transgender and gender nonconforming people, and I know personally that this legislation will help individuals.”

This legislation honors that history and reaffirms the City’s commitment to gender equity by implementing measures to provide for all-gender restroom facilities and amending the Seattle Municipal Code to eliminate single-occupant restroom restrictions to a specific sex or gender identity. Single-occupant restrooms in City facilities and all public accommodations (including restaurants, coffee shops, stores, etc.) will be signed for all genders, rather than “men” or “women.”

Despite existing laws protecting a person’s right to use a restroom consistent with their gender identity, transgender and gender nonconforming people are frequently excluded from using facilities consistent with their gender identity, and use of gender-segregated restrooms can create unnecessary risk for transgender and gender nonconforming people.

If passed, the Seattle Office of Civil Rights (SOCR) will be responsible for enforcing these changes.

Mayor celebrates start of free summer meals for youth

Mayor serving kids summer lunches

Today Mayor Ed Murray formally kicked off the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) at Jefferson Community Center in Beacon Hill. Beginning this week and running through the end of August, the program, administered by the Seattle Human Services Department (HSD), serves free nutritious lunches, breakfasts and snacks to thousands of Seattle children at over 100 community sites. At the event, the Mayor was joined by Seattle Sounders Forward Steve Zakuani, representatives from the USDA, United Way of King County and local school-aged children participating in SFSP.

“The Summer Food Service Program helps ensure that all children have access to a nutritious meal during the school break,” Murray said. “Many school-aged children and working families in Seattle count on free and reduced school lunches during the school year. When school is out, this program can be a big help to those families.”

SFSP, also known as Summer Sack Lunch, was established in 1968 in response to growing concerns about the lack of nutrition resources for low-income children during the summer months. In 2014, 5,036 Seattle children and teens received 205,271 meals. The sites include community centers, Seattle park playgrounds, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA’s and YWCA’s. Most participating community sites offer full-day services and/or meaningful and supervised summer activities. In addition to assistance received by the organizations who host and staff their respective sites, the United Way of King County is a key partner to the City by staffing many of the park sites through AmeriCorps.

“No child should have to try to learn on an empty stomach. USDA’s school meal programs play an important role in providing children across Washington with healthy breakfasts and lunches. But we know that hunger doesn’t stop just because school is out. That is why we are proud to be working with the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and local partners, such as the City of Seattle, to help fill this gap through USDA summer meals programs, which provide nutritious meals to children throughout the summer and helping them return to school ready to learn,” said Jesus Mendoza, Jr., Regional Administrator of USDA Food and Nutrition Service.

The Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction administers the program on behalf of the USDA. The meals are provided with funding from USDA, the City of Seattle General Fund, and generous donations from Lawyers Helping Hungry Children.

For a complete list of sites and hours for the Summer Food Service Program, please call 206-386-1140 or visit www.seattle.gov/summerfood.

Statement after Council advances Move Seattle

Today Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement after the Seattle City Council voted 9-0 to advance the Transportation Levy to Move Seattle:

“Thank you to the City Council for its work to advance Move Seattle. We are one step closer to providing more transportation choices, addressing critical safety issues and improving congestion. As we renew our levy, it is essential that we develop better multi-modal corridors to serve buses, cars and freight. Seven new bus rapid transit lines will speed commuters through our densest neighborhoods to work and school. And we must address ongoing street and bridge maintenance priorities, invest in new sidewalks and build out our bicycle master plan.

“I appreciate the Council’s priority of funding for Safe Routes to School, an issue I first championed as a legislator many years ago. The levy’s accountability measures further strengthened by the Council will also bolster confidence that our investments will yield solid results.

“A unanimous vote by the Council in committee sends a great signal to Seattle residents. I’m looking forward to Council giving its final approval and sending the levy to the voters. We’re ready to get to work.”

Murray announces new strategy for city planning

To better manage planning and investments in rapidly growing Seattle, Mayor Ed Murray today signed an executive order to create a new Office of Planning and Community Development to integrate strategic planning functions from across city departments into one single entity.

“We have moved beyond the debate about whether we should allow growth – growth is already here,” said Murray. “When we develop new housing in a neighborhood, we must ensure we also have adequate open space, transportation and access to jobs, social services and other amenities. How we grow and how we invest will go hand in hand.”

Seattle is currently one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation, on pace to permit 9000 new housing units this year – 30 percent more than 2014. Seattle will be home to another 120,000 residents and 115,000 jobs by 2035.

The new office elevates the planning functions of the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) to manage Seattle’s construction boom and job growth, while also coordinating public investments in transportation, parks and housing. This office will be composed of planners with expertise in a range of subjects across city departments.

The office will also act as a single point of contact for Seattle residents who have concerns or comments about City planning and investments. The Department of Neighborhoods, led by new director Kathy Nyland, will help facilitate a new approach to community engagement.

“We need an entry-point for community concerns about how we preserve the Seattle that drew us all here in the first place,” said Murray. “And most importantly, this office will help us develop a shared vision for what kind of city we want Seattle to become.”

The mayor also announced that longtime director of DPD, Diane Sugimura, intends to retire later this year after more than three decades of service to the City of Seattle.

“On behalf of the people of the Seattle, I want to extend my thanks to Diane,” said Murray. “I look forward to Diane’s continued contribution to this important conversation on managing growth, as well as her insights in what we are looking for in the next generation of leaders in Seattle planning.”

Over the last two decades, the City has successfully channeled new housing into urban villages to create planned density. Nearly 75 percent of growth has been focused into Seattle’s Urban Centers and Urban Villages.

“My 37 years with the City have been an amazing roller coaster of activity and change,” said Sugimura. “I’ve been fortunate to have been part of these exciting and challenging times. I look forward to helping create the new Office of Planning and Community Development, which will provide an integrated and equitable approach to city growth.”

As integrated planning is elevated to the new Office of Planning and Community Development, the existing regulatory functions of the Department of Planning and Development – permits, code enforcement and inspections – will be housed in a separate agency to be named later. Nathan Torgelson, currently the deputy director at DPD, will lead that agency. Torgelson has 25 years’ experience in planning and economic development in various roles in the cities of Seattle and Kent.

The mayor’s September budget submittal to the City Council will include a detailed plan for both agencies. City departments participating in this planning process include: Department of Planning and Development, Transportation, Parks, Public Utilities, City Light, Housing and Economic Development.