Mayor Murray establishes team to guide renewal of Community Service Officer program

Mayor Ed Murray announced the creation of an interdepartmental project team (IDT) to guide the development of a new Community Service Officer (CSO) program. The CSO program will be designed to ensure that the Seattle Police Department (SPD) is better able to provide non-emergency services and support to Seattle’s communities.

“It is critical to the long-term success of our police department to build strong, lasting bonds between officers and the communities they serve,” said Mayor Murray. “The Seattle Police Department has worked for years to become a model of 21st century policing and the Community Service Officer program will help us reach the ultimate goal of building community trust with the department. With this in mind, the interdepartmental team will utilize the City’s Racial Equity Toolkit to inform the development of the program and to address the biggest divides that exist between the police and community. I am appreciative of Councilmember O’Brien’s efforts to secure funding for this important program.”

Existing CSO programs in the United States typically handle non-emergency incidents such as neighborhood disputes, investigations, and crime prevention which can ultimately increase efficiency within a police department and improve service to residents. Mayor Murray has long supported the renewal of the program to help neighborhoods work with SPD and to further the City’s commitment to constitutional and bias-free policing.

Mayor Murray’s directive tasks the IDT to develop recommendations for a new CSO program informed by the City’s Racial Equity Toolkit. These recommendations will address CSO qualifications, training curriculum, and operational functions with SPD.

The IDT will consist of representatives from the Mayor’s Office, SPD, Department of Neighborhoods, Office for Civil Rights, Seattle Human Services, City Budget Office, and the City Council. The IDT will be chaired by police Chief Kathleen O’Toole. The involvement of the Community Police Commission is contingent upon the Court’s indication of approval under the 2012 Consent Decree between the City of Seattle and Department of Justice. The IDT will develop the scope, budget, and action plan for the CSO program and will make its recommendations in early 2018.

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Mayor Murray names Seattle Municipal Court nominees

judge-anita-crawford-willisMayor Ed Murray announced his nominations of Anita Crawford-Willis and Adam Eisenberg to fill two current vacancies on the Seattle Municipal Court. Mayor Murray’s selections follow the recommendations of four finalists vetted by the Seattle Municipal Court Selection Committee that included representatives from several local Minority Bar Organizations. The nominations, for terms expiring January 14, 2019, are subject to confirmation by City Council.

 

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“Seattleites deserve thoughtful, passionate, and qualified judges on the Seattle Municipal Court,” said Mayor Murray, “Anita Crawford-Willis and Adam Eisenberg reflect these values and are committed to justice for all Seattle residents. They both bring judicial experience and have demonstrated throughout their careers a dedication to social and racial justice, diversity, and inclusion. I look forward to working with Council on moving these nominations forward. I would also like to thank David Perez, John Fetters, Chalia Stallings-Ala’ilima, and Abigail Caldwell for their diligent service on the selection committee.”

Anita Crawford-Willis will fill the Position 4 vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Judith Hightower. Crawford-Willis currently serves as an administrative law judge for the Office of Administrative Hearings in Seattle and serves as a judge pro tem on the Seattle Municipal Court. Crawford-Willis graduated from the Seattle University School of Law and began her career as a public defender. The hallmark of her career has been her leadership in mentoring and empowering students of color in their pursuit of careers in public service. She has been an active member of the King County legal community for the past 25 years and serves on the Board of Regents for Seattle University.

“Seattle Municipal Court is the highest volume court in the state and a judge on this court must be able to handle a variety of matters efficiently, without sacrificing a party’s rights,” said

Presiding Judge Karen Donohue of the Seattle Municipal Court. “Judge Crawford-Willis is uniquely qualified for the role by virtue of her experience in the courtroom as a public defender and judge pro tem, along with her work outside the courtroom mentoring women and young people of color pursuing careers in law. She will be an exceptional addition to our bench.”

Adam Eisenberg, who will fill the Position 6 vacancy created by Judge Steve Rosen’s election to the King County Superior Court, currently serves as a magistrate on the Seattle Municipal Court and teaches art and cultural property law at the University of Washington Museology graduate program. Prior to entering law, Eisenberg worked as a film and television journalist in Los Angeles and is a published non-fiction author. He earned his law degree from the University of Washington School of Law and served as a criminal prosecutor prior to being appointed commissioner and then magistrate judge on the Seattle Municipal Court. Eisenberg is an active member of the King County legal community and serves on the board of directors of Q-Law, an association of legal professionals dedicated to informing the public and courts on legal issues impacting the LGBTQ community. Eisenberg has also worked extensively on domestic violence issues outside the courtroom.

“Magistrate Eisenberg brings a wealth of life and legal experience that would make him an ideal judge for the Seattle Municipal Court,” said Barbara Madsen, Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court. “I became personally acquainted with Adam through his work on domestic violence. He has worked tirelessly to educate members of the public and judiciary on the impacts of domestic violence and is deeply committed to social justice. Magistrate Eisenberg will bring an accomplished and broad perspective to the bench.”

Mr. Sumeer Singla and Judge Anne Harper will remain as finalists from which Mayor Murray may select from should new vacancies arise during the remainder of his term.

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City prepares for potential winter storm

Today, Mayor Ed Murray activated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) ahead of a predicted snowstorm that could impact the Seattle area this evening and tomorrow morning. The EOC will manage the City’s response to impacts stemming from the storm. The EOC will begin operations at 5 p.m. today and will remain open as dictated by weather. The Joint Information Center (JIC) will also open and coordinate city-wide public communications pertaining to weather impacts.

The National Weather Service (NWS) is predicting potential lowland snow in the Puget Sound area this evening and potentially into tomorrow morning. NWS is tracking another storm that could potentially reach the Seattle area Thursday.

In anticipation of cold temperatures, the Seattle Human Services Department has opened the emergency co-ed adult shelter at the Seattle Center Pavilion (305 Harrison St.) through Thursday, December 8th. This shelter will be open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and has room for 100 people. King County has also expanded capacity for 50 additional men at the King County Administration Building shelter (500 4th Avenue) through Tuesday, December 6th. Both shelters are operated by the Salvation Army.

In the event of snow and/or ice, City emergency planners urge residents to prepare their homes for cold weather, build emergency supply kits for homes and vehicles, and drive only when necessary. For more information on how to prepare for winter weather, please visit Take Winter By Storm. For up-to-date information pertaining to impacts in the City of Seattle please sign up for AlertSeattle at Alert.Seattle.gov

The JIC will serve as the main point-of-contact for media inquiries during the EOC activation. A media advisory from the JIC will be sent out with contact information and relevant public safety updates as the evening unfolds.

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City prepares to open severe weather shelter

In anticipation of cold weather, the Seattle Human Services Department will open the emergency co-ed adult shelter at the Seattle Center Pavilion (305 Harrison St.) from Sunday, December 4th through Thursday, December 8th. This shelter will be open from 7 PM to 7 AM and has room for 100 people. King County is also expanding capacity for 50 additional men at the King County Administration Building shelter (500 4th Avenue) from Sunday, December 4ththrough Tuesday, December 6th. Both shelters are operated by the Salvation Army.

The National Weather Service is forecasting below freezing conditions late Sunday evening into the middle of next week, which could create a possibility of snow and ice in Seattle. Currently, the National Weather Service forecast predict that snow could potentially arrive on Monday afternoon and into Tuesday morning. For the most current forecast, please visit the National Weather Service website.

In the event of snow and/or ice, City emergency planners urge residents to prepare their homes for cold weather, build emergency supply kits for homes and vehicles, and not to drive unnecessarily. For more information on how to prepare for winter weather, please visit Take Winter By Storm. Additionally, for up-to-date information pertaining to impacts in the City of Seattle please sign up for AlertSeattle at Alert.Seattle.gov

The City of Seattle continues to monitor forecasts and City departments are preparing operations to respond to impacts from snow and ice.

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Seattle, Airbnb agree to MOU for natural disaster, emergency response

Today, the City of Seattle and Airbnb announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will help the City identify and activate Airbnb hosts to offer free accommodations during a disaster or other emergency. The agreement also connects Airbnb with the Office of Emergency Management’s (OEM) AlertSeattle system, to disseminate public safety alerts to hosts and people visiting Seattle.

“Today we are announcing a new, innovative partnership that will help people during an emergency and make Seattle more resilient,” said Deputy Mayor Kate Joncas. “This collaboration between the City and Airbnb makes our emergency response stronger, and improves our ability to help those who are affected by storms, earthquakes, and other emergencies. We are especially grateful to the Airbnb hosts willing to open their space to their neighbors and visitors in a time of need.”

The MOU was signed between OEM (which is an affiliated office of the Seattle Police Department) and Airbnb. The agreement allows OEM to work directly with Airbnb Disaster Response to arrange for free accommodations for displaced people or emergency responders in need of housing. The program will rely on Airbnb hosts who have volunteered to participate.

“Opening doors to people who need a place to stay is in the spirit of the Airbnb community,” said Airbnb’s Head of Disaster Response and Relief, Kellie Bentz. “When Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast, 1,400 Airbnb hosts in New York opened their doors for those left stranded. The generosity of our community inspired our team to build a worldwide disaster response initiative. This agreement with the Seattle Office of Emergency Management is an exciting next step forward in this commitment.”

The agreement also calls for OEM to work with Airbnb to provide emergency-related information for hosts and guests through the AlertSeattle system, increases awareness of local hazards and emergency procedures for guests and hosts, and creates opportunities for hosts to join disaster preparedness trainings provided by the City. Full text of the MOU can be found here.

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Mayor Murray announces Move Seattle Levy neighborhood investments

Today, Mayor Ed Murray announced $6.5 million in awards for 12 new neighborhood improvement projects through the Neighborhood Street Fund.  These projects, which will be built over the next 3 years include pedestrian crossings, signal improvements, sidewalk investments and better access to neighborhood amenities, including public schools.  The Neighborhood Street Fund is funded by the Move Seattle Levy.

“Through the Neighborhood Street Fund, the City is committed to working collaboratively with residents to address community concerns through neighborhood-driven projects,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “The projects announced today will improve safety, walkability and livability in neighborhoods throughout the City and will bring us closer to the goals set out in the Move Seattle Levy.”

North Aurora Corridor project

This N. Aurora Corridor project will increase safety by providing improved crossings for people walking and biking and enhance planned neighborhood greenway crossings.

The City received 143 project proposals from Seattle neighborhood groups which were reviewed by the City’s 13 district councils, and vetted by the resident-driven Move Seattle Oversight Committee.  Mayor Murray ultimately approved the committee’s recommendation of the following projects:

  • N 40 St and Bagley Ave N Pedestrian Improvements
  • Harbor Ave SW and SW Spokane St Intersection Improvements
  • Aurora Ave N Corridor Improvements: N 85 St to N 105 St
  • E John St & E Thomas St Corridor Crossing Improvements
  • NE 70 St and I-5 Walking and Biking Improvements
  • 15th Ave S and S Columbian Way Intersection Revision
  • S Jackson St Corridor Improvements
  • Chief Sealth High School Walkway Improvements
  • Improved Connections to Freeway Park
  • Holman Road and 13th Ave NW Signal
  • Bailey Gatzert Elementary School Pedestrian Improvements
  • Hawthorne Elementary & S Genesee St Safer Community Pedestrian Connections

“The projects chosen through the NSF Program will help address some of the locations that neighbors specifically advocated for,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “And overall, the projects will have positive impacts on the neighborhoods they’re in.”

Projects were prioritized by the Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee using criteria developed from the five core values listed in Move Seattle – Safe, Interconnected, Vibrant, Affordable, and Innovative – as well as cost, district council ranking, and crash and collision data.

Chief Sealth Pedestrian Walkway Project

The goal of the Chief Sealth High School pedestrian walkway project is to enhance walking connections for students and others and includes new lighting.

The Neighborhood Street Fund Program provides $26 million over the course of the 9-year levy to neighborhood projects to improve safety, mobility and access. The program is on a three-year cycle allowing neighborhoods to build larger projects with greater impacts on walking and biking. Works selected in 2016 will be designed in 2017 and constructed in 2018.

“The oversight committee had many challenging decisions to make when selecting the final list of projects,” said Betty Spieth-Croll, co-chair of the Levy to Move Seattle Oversight Committee. “We took our role in recommending the final list of projects very seriously and we can’t wait to see them built.”

Approved by voters in 2015, the 9-year, $930 million Move Seattle Levy provides funding to improve safety for all travelers, maintain City streets and bridges, and invest in reliable, affordable travel options for a growing city.

For more information on the Move Seattle Levy or to learn more about the Neighborhood Street Fund for Large Projects, visit www.seattle.gov/LevytoMoveSeattle.

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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 Murray launches ‘Resilient Seattle’ Initiative with 100 Resilient Cities

 

Today Mayor Ed Murray, joined by 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) and community leaders, launched a new effort to make Seattle more resilient to shocks—catastrophic events like earthquakes and floods—and stresses, slow-moving disasters such as inequity, homelessness, and climate change—which are increasingly part of 21st century life.

Seattle was selected to join the 100RC network earlier this year and joins cities such as London, New York, Bangkok, and Rio de Janeiro that have demonstrated a strong commitment to resilience planning in order to be better prepared when disruption hits.

image2“How we respond to the complex issues of climate change, affordable housing, and inequity will have profound implications for generations,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We must consider the impact of each of these things, particularly on communities of color, who are often disproportionately impacted. Seattle is prepared to work in partnership with 100RC and our community on innovative ways to lay the groundwork for Seattle to become the most resilient city in North America.”

Cities in the 100RC network have realized a host of benefits even over the relatively short lifespan of the program. These include improved bond ratings, additional federal investment, better collaboration with surrounding municipalities, more cost efficient plans to deal with disasters, and national recognition of their resilience work. The workshop will lay the groundwork for Seattle’s comprehensive Resilience Strategy and address challenges such as rapid population growth, transportation, economic and racial equity, and earthquake preparedness.

The ‘Resilient Seattle Workshop’ is Seattle’s first engagement in our partnership with 100RC. The workshop brings a diverse set of stakeholders from community-based organizations, the private sector, government, academia, and the arts community into the planning process. Workshop participants will explore the range of threats the city faces as well as opportunities to work together to become stronger. In the coming weeks, Seattle will name a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) – a new position that will lead the city’s resilience efforts and continue to engage stakeholders, resilience experts, and 100RC staff in drafting a comprehensive Resilience Strategy.

“Seattle is helping fuel global momentum around building urban resilience, and leading by example,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities. “The work from the agenda workshop will clarify the city’s needs, surface innovative thinking, and give us a blueprint for engaging partners from across sectors to bring Seattle the tools and resources needed to become more resilient.”

Seattle was selected as one of 37 members of the final cohort of what is now a 100-city global network, and will receive technical support and resources to develop and implement a Resilience Strategy. Each city in the 100RC network receives four concrete types of support:

  • Financial and logistical guidance for establishing an innovative new position in city government, a Chief Resilience Officer, who will lead the city’s resilience efforts;
  • Technical support for development of a robust Resilience Strategy;
  • Access to solutions, service providers, and partners from the private, public and NGO sectors who can help them develop and implement their resilience strategies; and
  • Membership in a global network of member cities who can learn from and help each other.

Seattle’s resilience strategy will be a holistic, action-oriented plan to build partnerships and alliances, financing mechanisms, and will pay particular attention to advancing racial and social justice. The workshop begins the process of identifying priorities, actions, and metrics, and the plan will be drafted over the next 6-9 months.

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Mayor Murray sends police accountability reform package to federal judge

Mayor Ed Murray and the City of Seattle today filed draft legislation for Seattle Police Department (SPD) accountability reform with U.S. District Court Judge James Robart for review.  The legislation is a collaborative product of months-long discussions with the Community Police Commission, Federal Monitor Merrick Bobb, the City and many other stakeholders. The proposal creates an independent office of Inspector General, transforms the Community Police Commission (CPC) into a permanent body, and increases the scope and independence of SPD’s Office of Professional Accountability (OPA).

“Today marks a historic and critical juncture for the people of Seattle and their police department,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We’ve been engaged for many months on the critical work of getting police reform right and today we agreed upon the strongest and most transparent police accountability structure in our city’s history. Change does not occur overnight, but thanks to the collaborative effort of the many stakeholders, the CPC and the City, this package can begin to make lasting institutional change that can ultimately build trust between the police and the communities they serve.”

The package sent to Judge Robart includes the following key accountability measures:

  • Creation of the Office of Inspector General, empowered to review and report on any aspect of SPD’s policies and practices.
  • Increases the independence of our Office of Professional Accountability, replacing sworn SPD officers with civilian staff tasked with overseeing all investigations and complaints against officers.
  • Makes the CPC a permanent body, ensuring community input is institutionalized into Seattle’s police services.

In August of this year, Judge Robart issued an order ruling that any SPD reform package must be reviewed by the Court before being sent to City Council to ensure the package meets the accountability and transparency requirements agreed to under the 2012 Consent Decree settlement with the Department of Justice. After the Department of Justice reviews and sends comments to Judge Robart, the Court begins its 90-day review period.

At the conclusion of the review period, Mayor Murray will finalize and transmit legislation to the Council.

Read the Court Brief and the Accountability Legislation

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City of Seattle, Seattle Housing Authority and Seattle Public Schools announce new Home from School partnership pilot

Today Mayor Ed Murray announced a new partnership between the City of Seattle, the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) and Seattle Public Schools (SPS) to provide stable housing for SPS families with school-age children, ensuring an uninterrupted school year and educational consistency. This partnership will begin as a pilot project at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School this year, where 17 percent of the students are homeless or unstably housed.

The Home from School pilot will offer assistance to families to find a stable home, get back on their feet and keep their children at Bailey Gatzert all year. To accomplish this goal, SHA will contract with a service provider to provide outreach, enrollment, and pre and post-move support, including services such as housing research, assistance with barriers to leasing and connecting families to neighborhood resources and services.

“The Home from School partnership is the kind of direct problem solving, innovation and risk taking we need to get our most vulnerable families on the path to stable home and futures.” said Mayor Murray. “For a city and state as wealthy and successful as Seattle and Washington, we cannot accept the reality that thousands of school aged kids are homeless. Through this partnership, we can work to ensure students and their families have a place to call home and an opportunity to succeed.”

More than 80 percent of students at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School qualify for Free and Reduced Priced Lunch and a significant number of these students have experienced complex trauma including housing instability and homelessness. The 2014-2015 student turnover rate for Bailey Gatzert Elementary School was 31 percent.

“This pilot complements Seattle Housing Authority’s long term commitment to redevelop the Yesler Neighborhood.  SHA is in a unique position to positively impact school stability by providing long-term affordable housing options in the neighborhood for families experiencing homelessness, allowing continuity in their neighborhood school,” said Andrew Lofton, Executive Director of Seattle Housing Authority.

“The district is seeing a dramatic increase in the number of students experiencing housing instability.  Ensuring uninterrupted educational opportunities for our students is a priority and foundational to their academic success. We are excited to be expanding our partnership with Seattle Housing Authority and the City to address this need,”  said Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Larry Nyland.

 

Participation in the program will be voluntary and priority will be given to families experiencing homelessness. This pilot initiative will begin at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School in the Yesler neighborhood, but if results are promising SHA may in the future expand the initiative to different schools in different neighborhoods.

Seattle Public Schools: Seattle Public Schools is committed to ensuring equitable access, closing the opportunity gaps and excellence in education for every student.

Seattle Housing Authority
The mission of the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) is to enhance the Seattle community by creating and sustaining decent, safe and affordable living environments that foster stability and self-sufficiency for people with low incomes. SHA provides long-term, low-income rental housing and rental assistance to more than 30,000 people in the City of Seattle. SHA owns and operates approximately 8,000 units at nearly 400 sites throughout the city. SHA also handles more than 10,000 Housing Choice Vouchers, enabling low-income residents to receive rental assistance throughout the Seattle housing market. Approximately 13,000 SHA residents are elderly or disabled and about 9,500 are children. SHA, a public corporation established in 1939, is governed by a seven-member Board of Commissioners, two of whom are SHA residents. Commissioners are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. More information is available at seattlehousing.org.

 

 

 

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