Mayor Murray signs resolution honoring indigenous peoples

Mayor Murray today signed a resolution that honors indigenous peoples by declaring the second Monday in October "Indigenous Peoples' Day" in Seattle.

Mayor Murray signs the Indigenous Peoples’ Resolution. More photos are available on our Flickr page.

Mayor Murray today signed a resolution that honors indigenous peoples by declaring the second Monday in October “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in Seattle.

“Seattle sits on the homelands of many tribal nations,” Murray said at a ceremony surrounded by tribal leaders and City councilmembers. “We have many ongoing works with our neighbor tribes, and we welcome the tens of thousands of American Indians and Alaska Natives who have come to call this city home. Today’s commemoration is intended to spark a productive conversation about the contributions of indigenous peoples, and, most importantly, their continued involvement in the cultural fabric of our community and the entire country.”

“I believe that what makes Seattle so special, so unique, is that we are bold enough to admit the shortcomings of our history in order to achieve the realization of our dreams,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell. “This has been an educational opportunity for our city and across the country. I believe that in honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we are honoring the best in ourselves. We are being open-minded, we are listening to each other and we are celebrating the triumphs and values of every oppressed group. We are celebrating that human spirit that says, ‘We matter and we shall be treated fairly.'”

“By passing this resolution, the City has demonstrated to the original inhabitants of this territory that the City values their history, culture, and welfare, as well as their contributions to local economy as attorneys, fishermen, doctors, construction workers, and entrepreneurs,” said David Bean, a Puyallup Tribal councilmember.

Murray underscored the importance of mutual understanding and respect between all people of the city.

“Today is not intended to take anything away from any other community or group in Seattle,” he said. “We are not removing any other designation or holiday in Seattle. We respect and honor all our city’s cultural traditions, community groups and history, including Italian-Americans.”

At today’s ceremony, the mayor also noted that Chairman Leonard Forsman of the Suquamish Tribe has been appointed to serve on the Central Waterfront Steering Committee.

“We welcome Chairman Forsman to that committee and look forward to our continuing work with tribal peoples on the historic waterfront,” said Murray.

The committee and waterfront design teams will work extensively with tribes to help ensure that the tribal roots of the place and the continued tribal presence in the area are reflected in the design of the new waterfront, Murray said. Murray also announced a new public art project on the waterfront that will recognize and reflect the Coast Salish tribes’ historic connection to the region.

In addition, Murray announced the appointment of Claudia Kauffman, former state senator and current intergovernmental liaison for the Muckleshoot Tribe, to serve as board chair of the Seattle Indian Services Commission.

“Claudia will help revitalize and rebuild the Seattle Indian Services Commission to ensure that our urban Indian residents are well served and represented,” said Murray.

Video from the resolution signing

Murray proposes 2015-16 budget

mayor before council budget speech

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray today presented to the City Council his proposed budget for 2015-16 that brings more transparency, more innovation, better organization and better performance to City government.

Murray outlined several major reform proposals, beginning with key reforms to the City’s budgeting process itself.

“We will move toward a performance-based budgeting system and begin paying for outcomes,” said Murray in his budget address to Council. “This will lead to streamlining of services, better use of resources and greater performance from our departments. And, perhaps most importantly, it will drive better service for the people of Seattle.”

Murray’s additional proposed reforms to the City’s budgeting process include:

  • moving City departments to a standard accounting system;
  • conducting a zero-based budgeting exercise for a least two City departments for a better accounting of baseline expenditures;
  • launching an interactive, online “Open Budget” tool on the model of the City of Boston’s tool for greater transparency in City spending;
  • developing performance metrics for all City departments for more efficiency and accountability;
  • launching an online dashboard to track department performance and provide greater transparency and accountability; and
  • establishing an advisory committee on the model of the state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council to provide greater transparency and better performance.

“We will use data – not tradition – to drive how our government functions,” Murray said.

Murray also proposed what he said will be ‘a major restructuring of how we as a City plan for our future.’

“We will look across departments to establish new best practices of coordinated planning,” said Murray, “so that as we plan, we plan together, and when we build new housing, we are also planning new jobs, parks and transportation to support them.”

And, Murray said he has tasked Human Services Director John Okamoto to conduct an audit of the City’s nearly $35 million annual investment in homeless services and to compare City spending against national best practices.

“On any given night, there are at least 2,300 unsheltered individuals on our city streets – and very likely there are more,” said Murray. “It is time for us to learn if a better budgeting approach here in City Hall will create better outcomes for individuals living right now on the streets of this city.”

In his address to Council, Murray restated his priorities of a safe, affordable, vibrant and interconnected city for all. Highlights of Murray’s 2015-16 budget by priority area are available by clicking here.

Murray also said his budget shows how cities can be ‘an incubator of change’ and ‘a laboratory of democracy’ by funding ‘bold policy experimentation,’ including:

“These budget commitments demonstrate a City government flexible enough to reorganize around our priorities and support new policy that reflects the evolving needs of our communities,” Murray said.

As the centerpiece of his agenda for a more affordable city, Murray said that he would announce with Council the members, structure and timeframe for action of his Affordable Housing Advisory Committee on September 23 at 10:30 a.m. on the Seventh Floor of City Hall.

City Council will begin the hearings on the budget proposal on October 2nd.

To learn more about Mayor Ed Murray’s proposed 2015-16 budget please visit here.

Watch the speech:

Mayor Murray, Executive Constantine announce Green/Duwamish Watershed Strategy for cleaner air, land, and water

duwamish

Building upon the more than $1 billion already invested, or committed for investment, by King County and Seattle for clean-up of the Green/Duwamish River Watershed, Mayor Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine today announced an ambitious strategy that will coordinate work by governments, nonprofits, and businesses to improve the health of that 500-square-mile watershed.

“The Duwamish Superfund site is part of a much larger watershed that spans 93 miles, from Elliott Bay to beyond the Howard Hanson Dam,” said Mayor Murray. “In order to have a clean river, we need a healthy system. It’s time for a broader conversation and a broader strategy.”

You can learn about the strategy announcement on the County’s website and you can learn about the City of Seattle’s Duwamish River Opportunity Fund here.

Mayor proposes Department of Education and Early Learning

DEEL

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.

Video from press conference

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:

Kirke Park recognized for its sustainable landscape

Kirke Park was recently named a two-star certified site by the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) program, making it one of only 34 projects to be certified nationwide.

SITES was started through the United States Botanic Garden, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin and the American Society of Landscape Architects. The program encourages healthy ecosystems and has developed a comprehensive rating system for sustainable landscapes.

Mayor Murray applauds passage of Parks District measure

Mayor Murray today issued the following statement in response to the apparent passage of the Seattle Parks District measure by Seattle voters:

“I want to thank Seattle voters for their support of the parks district and commitment to creating a lasting legacy of open space and facilities for generations of Seattleites.

This vote means a sustainable source of funding for our parks system. We will begin work immediately to address our existing maintenance backlog, working diligently to manage the needs of our park system as Seattle continues to grow as a city.”

City of Seattle to partner with community on the future of Delridge

The City of Seattle is beginning a collaboration to produce a shared vision and action plan to continue improving the health and equity of the Delridge community.

Delridge is a unique area of West Seattle and home to a rich heritage, diverse communities and organizations. Over the years, the people of Delridge have worked with the City to create neighborhood assets such as Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail, Cottage Grove Park and affordable housing options. These and many other additions to the neighborhood are the result of community activism and the neighborhood plan completed in 1999.