Ballard Commons Park Update

April 10th, 2020

May 4, 2020

Since my first days in office, and long before the COVID-19 pandemic or the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, I have been working to address the situation in and around Ballard Commons Park. I was heartened to learn that as of last week the Navigation Team had moved 17 people out of the park and into 24/7 enhanced shelter.

My calls of urgency for resources, shelter, housing, and management are because I also understand the need of adjacent residents to have relief from living next to an unmanaged encampment. We need to manage this public space and we had initial success with increased police presence, increased access to hygiene, and a cleaner and better maintained park. These are the steps we need to take as we refer people into shelter. Where we have failed is providing law enforcement the tools they need to address and intervene in the problematic and predatory behavior as we deployed the necessary resources to stabilize the people who are trying to get off the streets.

Encampment removals that push people around our community without addressing their underlying situation is not in line with my values. There were seven encampment removals in the first ten weeks of the year before encampment removals were stopped due to the pandemic. Simply put this means that every week we push people from one place to the next without addressing the underlying issues.

On Saturday May 2nd a notice was distributed indicating an encampment removal would occur on Monday, May 4th at 9:00 am. This did not meet the notice requirements of providing notice no fewer than 72 hours or no more than 7 days before an encampment removal.

Pushing people from one place to another, into our greenspaces, our industrial areas, and other resident’s front yards only exacerbate the problem we are trying to address and do not provide meaningful interventions. We need to use strategies that do not require us to come back week after week to push people around. Burien has contracted to move people out of their skate park and into hotels rooms with case managers – this program has been highly successful. We can do this in Seattle, and this is an approach we should take.

April 30, 2020

As Seattle continues to Stay Home, Stay Healthy, I continue to focus on a key component of keeping all of our neighbors healthy, which is addressing the situation in and around Ballard Commons Park. 

You will remember from my last update that City Councilmembers do not have direct control of City Departments since they report directly to the Mayor. During times of stated civil emergency the Mayor is empowered to respond dynamically to the emerging crisis and council power is further limited. 

My conversations with the Mayor’s office are occurring daily and the Mayor and City Departments have increased their response with additional resources each day, for the last week. As your Councilmember I remain committed to communicating with you about what I know and how the City is responding. To that end, here are the updates that I have.

New Updates:

  • Human Services Navigation Team continues dispersing hygiene kits and referrals to shelter to people in Ballard Commons
    • The Navigation Team has been in the park every day for the last week
    • 17 people have moved out 0f the park and into shelter in the last week
  • 95 new 24/7 enhanced shelters beds opened Lakefront Community HouseT.C. Spirit Village, and expansion of Lake Union Village
  • Ballard Library Bathrooms reopened
  • Seattle Police increased their presence around Ballard Commons, downtown Ballard, and in the “Frelard” area
  • Public Health continued their Hepatitis-A outreach and vaccines
  • Increased cleaning, sanitizing, and garbage collection by the Navigation Team, Seattle Parks, and Seattle Public Utilities continued
  • Hand-washing station and portable bathrooms remain in place with consistent cleaning
  • Washington State National Guard deployed to help Solid Ground, Food Lifeline, Operation Sack Lunch, and St. Luke’s with food and drink packing, disbursement, and litter pickup 

Problematic Behavior Intervention Challenges due to COVID-19:

  • Currently Seattle Municipal Court and King County Superior Court operations are drastically reduced. 
  • The King County Jail has significantly restricted the types of bookings it will accept. 

Looking Ahead:

  • Police presence will remain
  • Library bathrooms will remain open
  • Increased cleaning, sanitizing, and garbage collection will continue
  • Navigation Team will continue with outreach and referral to shelter
  • National Guard will be in and around Ballard Commons until May 29th with the possibility of extension

I was working before the COVID-19 pandemic and the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order to address the situation in and around Ballard Commons Park.

I am thankful for the work of my City partners; Seattle Public Libraries staff, Human Services Department, Seattle Parks, Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Police, with a special thanks to the front-line staff who have continued their work at the park. With our collaborative efforts we have made some progress and I retain my call for implementing more solutions urgently. As other cities address their homelessness crisis with hotels, motels, shelter, and housing, we have only just begun to implement these solutions. 

As this civil state of emergency continues and we move out of this crisis I remain committed to create long-term solutions that address the root causes of the issues we are experiencing. We must remain vigilant and act urgently to address social service gaps, and interventions to problematic behavior. 

 

–Dan

______________________________________________________

April 10, 2020

When I was elected, I knew as a lifelong Ballard resident that one of the first issues I needed to tackle was the situation in and around Ballard Commons Park. In my first two months in office I began the work to address this situation behind the scenes, and then COVID-19 hit. I continue monitoring Ballard Commons in-person and I opened my district office at the Customer Service Center (next to the Library) to increase my presence in the area.

When it comes to solving this issue or any community problem, we have to understand the history, who has the authority address it, and who is responsible for implementing solutions. For instance, City Councilmembers do not have direct control of City Departments as they report directly to the Mayor. During times of stated civil emergency the City Council has an even further limited role in the issuance of directives as the Mayor that is empowered to respond dynamically to the emerging crisis. It is my job to communicate with you, our residents of District 6, about what I know and how the City is responding.

I am not waiting for others to act because our community is in crisis and this is an urgent issue. I called a meeting of all departments with jurisdiction in this area including: Seattle King County Public Health, Human Services Department, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Police Department, Seattle Public Libraries, Seattle Public Utilities, Finance and Administrative Services, and the Mayor’s Office. It is important to note that Mayor Durkan and I have spoken about Ballard Commons Park, she agrees that this situation needs to be addressed, and thus far City Departments have been responsive. Still, my efforts will only be as successful as what is directed by the Mayor, what City Departments implement, and how we support our community partners in creating solutions. Overall, we need to do more, and we need to work faster.

These are the updates from King County Public Health I have received:

The City’s initial response to these Hepatitis-A cases include:

  • The most important strategy for addressing Hepatitis A is vaccination, and as part of a 2-year Hep A vaccination effort, Public Health mobilized several clinics in the Ballard area in March and are continuing weekly clinics and outreach three times per week
  • Public Health- Seattle King County Environmental Health team has connected with Seattle Parks & Recreation to confirm best practice sanitation procedures of the Portland Loo at the Seattle Commons as a precaution
  • Human Services Department and the Navigation Team completing outreach with hygiene kits three times per week
  • Seattle Public Utilities increased proactive cleaning to four times per week and servicing the garbage can in front of the library five times per week
  • Seattle Police Department’s Community Police Teams, Anti-Crime Teams, and Bike Patrols are supplementing patrols
  • Seattle Parks and Recreation reopened the Portland Loo with cleaning three times daily and picking up litter three times per week
  • The City is providing a handwashing station and portable toilets at Ballard Commons Park

Until we stand up appropriate shelter options, we need to manage what is currently an unmanaged encampment. This requires the city increasing:

  • Security for housed and unhoused neighbors
  • Access to restrooms and handwashing
  • Access to drinking water and food
  • Sanitation and cleaning
  • Pathways to appropriate shelter space
  • Pathways to stable housing

I will continue to update you with the information I have about the City’s response to these Hepatitis-A cases.

The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing and magnifying the gaps in our social services. Councilmember Lewis called a Select Committee on Homelessness Strategies and Investments to highlight these issues and you can watch the Committee Presentations here.

We must act urgently, and you can count on me to continue addressing social service gaps and interventions in problematic behavior.

–Dan


Woodland Park Encampment Drawdown

October 31st, 2022

In the spring of 2022, four months of work at Woodland Park culminated in the highest number of homeless residents moving out of an encampment and into shelter in the City’s history. Throughout the process, my office gave updates on the homeless encampment draw down at Woodland Park. It’s important to note that at Woodland Park, we applied the same human-centered model that was successful at Ballard Commons. In this blog post, you will find more in-depth information about Woodland Park and how we were able to help so many people inside. We removed the encampment by connecting people with shelter that met their needs and gave people the time they needed to collect and move their belongings before temporarily closing the park.

Our phased homelessness outreach plan at Woodland Park ended in May of 2022, and over the four months of intensive outreach work, we moved 89 people out of the park and into shelter, transitional or permanent supportive housing. This is the largest number of people connected with shelter and services through the process of an encampment removal in city history.
 
In January of 2022, a By Name List was created, which is similar to a census, where the outreach team met and learned the names of everyone living in the park, and what their most basic needs were and what type of shelter would be their preference. In February of 2022, the needs assessment was completed, and people began moving inside and out of Woodland Park. This encampment removal’s timeline was dictated by shelter availability, as we did not have shelter expansion during this time. This extended the amount of time it took, as compared to if we had shelter expansion occur during the phased response. During this time, more people moved into the park who were not on our original census, also known as the By Name List because they wanted access to shelter beds.

In the last two weeks before the end of Phase III, we surged our efforts to account for everyone living in the park, including those who had arrived at the park since the By Name List was created. In the last week of Phase III, we moved 49 people inside, including 27 people on the last day and that included providing logistics, like driving people from the park to shelter, further ensuring people’s needs were met. On that final day, the outreach team was working hard to get everyone into shelter who was at the park. This experience reinforced lessons we knew going in – this work’s success is dependent on adequate shelter availability and being able to match people to shelter that fits their needs.

Mayor Harrell’s office and I worked collaboratively with several different agencies and with neighbors for months to reach a positive resolution. This collaboration allowed for a unified team of governmental and non-governmental agencies to focus on getting people inside and return the park to its designed use. This is local government at its best, when it is collaborative and transparent.

We would not have been able to shelter and house 89 people without the partnership with Evergreen Treatment Services – REACH, the Phinney Neighborhood Association, the King County Regional Homelessness Authority, the City’s Unified Care Team, and Mayor Harrell’s Deputy Mayor Tiffany Washington’s leadership.

I am confident that the phased approach model we used at Woodland Park and Ballard Commons, which gives professional outreach workers the time to build relationships and assess individual needs, contributed to this large number of people accepting shelter and housing. I believe this model will stand the test of time and be used as a model for getting people inside across the city. We helped people inside by connecting on a human-level, and identifying what folks needed to come inside.

We removed the encampment by connecting people with the shelter that met their needs, and we gave people the time they needed to collect and move their belongings along with the resources they needed to get to and check into shelter. This included driving people to the shelter, watching over their belongings while checking in, and assisting them to get their belongings to the shelter they checked into.

Lessons Learned

The pandemic ended our use of basic congregate shelter, which is an important and positive step. Now our base shelter option is 24/7 enhanced shelter which provide more options for pets, space to leave your possessions, and places to stay with your partner. This is a better model than what we have relied on previously. Additionally, we know people most desire a personal space – a shelter or housing option that has four walls and a door the person can lock. We do our best to match a person with their first choice of shelter, but unfortunately that is not always possible.

Candidly, our city does not have the shelter capacity we need – and we are doing more now than ever before. Our shelter availability is dependent on the housing resources we fund from permanent supportive housing to very low-income housing. Last year was the first year we met our target of $200 million per year invested in housing and this year we are meeting the goal again by investing $250 million in housing. This is due to the JumpStart Seattle tax, Mandatory Housing Affordability program, Seattle’s Housing Levy, and Federal Covid relief funding. We cannot lose sight of funding our housing needs – and we need to scale up our shelter capacity while permanent housing is built.
I want to thank all the outreach workers, Clean Cities team, Human Services Department, and Seattle Parks and Rec for their efforts in the park. It is difficult, challenging, often thankless work that goes unnoticed by many, so I want to give them the public recognition they deserve. Because after four months of intensive outreach, an unprecedented 89 individuals living in tents and RVs in Woodland Park were successfully connected to available shelter as well as services. Thanks to trained, professional outreach workers from the city’s HOPE Team and REACH, these referrals helped people secure safer and more stable living conditions.


Historic Ballard

June 28th, 2022

May 29, 2022, was the 115th anniversary of Ballard being annexed to the City of Seattle. The reason for annexing has a complicated history, which I will outline below. To celebrate Ballard’s history prior to annexation, and how far we have come in the last 115 years, I wanted to share some fun, historic facts about Ballard. Which means if you’re a history buff like me, then this is the post for you!

Prior to annexation, in 1902, the City of Ballard made a deal with the City of Seattle to use their water sources. Legend has it that in 1907, someone threw a dead horse in the Ballard’s reservoir, ruining their water resources. Seattle would only supply water to the City of Ballard in exchange for annexation [1]. Some say this story is impossible, as Ballard likely didn’t even have a reservoir at the time. HistoryLink does note the reservoir was in fact located at 72nd and 24th and an analysis of the water quality did indicate that it contained a large amount of decomposing organic matter, which meant it was non-potable for Ballard residents [2].

While annexation into Seattle 115 years ago comes with mixed emotions, I am excited that today in 2022, Ballard is expanding its influence. Most recently we have expanded our influence south of the ship canal with the newly formed semi-professional soccer team Ballard FC whose home field is in Interbay.

From the Seattle Archives:

First settled in the 1850s, Ballard grew quickly through the last half of the 19th century. After it became known that the Great Northern Railroad would route its trains into Seattle from the north, the town’s land was platted, and real estate boomed. Boasting being “the shingle capital of the world,” the Ballard’s timber and fishing jobs drew many new residents, including many immigrants from Scandinavia.

As it grew, the town built a post office in 1889, a city hall in 1899, and a Carnegie library in 1904. The first bridge over Salmon Bay was completed in 1889, allowing for improved commerce and communications with Seattle. Streetcars and ferries were also operational by the 1890s, and an amusement park at Golden Gardens brought pleasure seekers out to the Ballard beach.[3]

Photo courtesy of Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) 

When the town incorporated in 1890, it had 1,636 residents. By 1900, its 4,568 residents made it the seventh largest city in Washington, and the population continued to boom, growing to 17,000 by the time of annexation in 1907. Growth was quickly overwhelming the city’s ability to provide services, and a safe water supply was a continuing problem. In 1902, Ballard made an agreement with Seattle to tap into its water system and was using more than 5 million gallons a year. This expenditure was adding to the city’s debt, and many citizens believed that the city was becoming unable to sustain itself.

More than the other annexed cities, Ballard was divided on the issue of merging with Seattle. Indeed, during the first annexation vote in 1905, the citizens decided to remain independent. However, enough minds were changed 15 months later that annexation won out on the second vote.

To learn more about old Ballard, and to see how far it has come, the City of Seattle has some archive information you can access here: https://www.seattle.gov/cityarchives/exhibits-and-education/online-exhibits/annexed-cities/ballard

University of Washington Libra, Special Collections, A. Curtis 00881

The decision to join the City of Seattle was met with resistance from many Ballardites, even with the lack of access to clean water.  On the day of the annexation, City Hall was draped in black crepe and the flag flown at half-mast on the official annexation day. The original Ballard City Hall was located at the north end of Ballard Avenue, and the original bell still stands today.

Ballard has a long and vibrant history that is unique to the rest of Seattle, with strong Scandinavian roots and a gritty attitude. Another Ballard urban legend suggests that the number of business licenses granted to saloons was directly related to the number of churches in the area in the early 1900s. [4]

If you’re interested in learning more about Ballard prior to annexation, here are census documents from 1890. Transcripts are also available if you’d like to take a deep dive into the documents.

Ferry Service to Ballard

Photo courtesy of Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) 

Ballard was such a large city, that we had our own dock for the Mosquito Fleets [5] that were ubiquitous in Puget Sound during this era. Above is a picture of the ferry landing in Ballard. Below is what the Ballard ferry dock looked like over 100 years ago, compared with today.

Photo courtesy of Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) 

Official Annexation Treaty

This page links to searchable City of Ballard ordinance titles and descriptions of other municipal government. On this page, you will find Ballard City Council minutes from over 100 years ago, Local Improvement District files, Warrants and Demands, and more! If you’re a Ballard history buff like me, there is a lot of interesting tidbits you can find while combing through these historical documents.

Ballard Curfew

Earlier in May, the City of Seattle highlighted the story of when the Ballard City Council enacted a city-wide curfew and vetoed the mayor’s vote in the process. “In a letter dated February 4, 1896, Ballard mayor George G. Startup explained his reasons for vetoing an ordinance recently passed by the Ballard City Council. Referred to as the Curfew Ordinance, the measure made it a misdemeanor for boys and girls under sixteen years old “to be on the streets, alleys, or public grounds of the City of Ballard” after 9 pm during the months of April through August, and after 8 pm the rest of the year. Exceptions were made if they were with a parent or guardian or had written permission. Children found in violation could be fined up to five dollars or jailed for up to two days. The town marshal was to ring the fire bell each night to signal the start of curfew.” The mayor vetoed this bill because he was concerned about the effects it may have on youth well-being in Ballard, however the city council pushed forward with the curfew. For the full story, https://www.seattle.gov/…/exhibits…/find-of-the-month

Golden Gardens circa 1910

Golden Gardens is a favorite for Ballardites, and for folks from all over Seattle. In this picture, taken in 1910, you see a group of men holding a Sea Serpent that washed ashore [6]. Sea Serpents appear frequently in Nordic folklore, and there have been claims that this picture is a fake and that the “Serpent” is in fact, a tree trunk.

Either way, this picture has become folklore on its own and Sea Serpents have become an unofficial Ballard trademark, https://www.myballard.com/2008/02/27/shilsholes-missing-sea-serpent/.

D6 Office in the Heart of Ballard

I chose to be sworn into office here at the former Ballard City Hall and I have an office in Ballard today because it is important to me that D6 residents don’t have to go out of their way to have their voice heard at Seattle City Hall.

My D6 District Office is at the Customer Service Center at the Ballard Branch Library just two blocks north of the old Ballard City Hall. I meet with D6 Residents every week during office hours and when you see me at the office please stop and say, “Hi”.

Other Annexed Cities

Seattle experienced a growth spurt from 1905 to 1910, with eight small cities being annexed into Seattle. Like Ballard, many of these small towns were also experiencing water quality or infrastructure issues which is why they joined, and it nearly doubled the physical size of the city. It also added a vibrancy to the city, with these eight small cities having their own distinct character.

If you’d like to read more about other cities annexed by Seattle, you can do so here: Annexed Cities – CityArchives | seattle.gov .


Café Streets

June 8th, 2022

Café Streets in Seattle have proven their popularity through this pandemic – even with our region’s unpredictable weather. Currently, we are on the pathway to permanency, and plans to regulate the Café Street program are being formalized. Businesses need certainty and flexibility, and we are keeping this in mind as plans are being formed. The success of this project comes from local business owners utilizing their entrepreneurial spirit and then streamlining government, so the bureaucratic process doesn’t slow business owners down. 

At the beginning of the Pandemic, Kelly Blake from Ballard Windermere sent me the idea of establishing café streets in Seattle to help small businesses survive and to give people more opportunities to connect with each other (safely) outdoors. Seattle has always permitted the use of sidewalks and parking spaces for restaurant spaces, but the high costs and lack of space were a barrier for many small businesses. We weren’t giving businesses the space to use their entrepreneurial spirit, and the costs were incredibly high. 

More than just dining – What is included in the pathway to permanency? 

There can be confusion surrounding the types of permits that add vibrancy to our neighborhoods, and how permits vary from retail to restaurant. Currently, there are six different types of safe start permits that a business owner could apply for, and the most common we are discussing today is the Outdoor Café Permit. Other permits include the Outdoor Merchandise Displays which is common for retailers, if they want to display merchandise outside to draw shoppers in, or if they are having a sale and need more space to display inventory. The Vending Permits are used if a business owner wants to put a vending machine outside of their retail, restaurant, or office space.  Outdoor Fitness on the Sidewalk, Curb Space, or Street is typically used by gyms or fitness centers so that people have space to safely exercise outdoors.  Street Closures are used to close a street and are typically used for events, fairs, farmers’ markets, and construction as well. Priority Pick Up Zones are designated spaces that delivery drivers, food pickup drivers or anyone who is quickly picking up food or goods from a restaurant or retail space.  

As you can see, there are many different permits a business owner could apply for, but they are tailored to meet a specific business’s needs.  For more information, visit SDOT’s website.  

In the last 20 months since implementing the café street permit program, outdoor dining and retail spaces have increased from 400 to 700 locations.  

During the pandemic, many people wanted to find space to engage with friends and neighbors while supporting local businesses. Many people weren’t comfortable dining or even shopping inside, so the need to create outside spaces for businesses become clear. Café streets have also created a vibrancy in our neighborhoods and have been a bright spot during a critical time when many businesses were closing their doors due to the uncertainty.  

Prior to the pandemic, the City of Seattle would typically charge a business the amount of money that a parking spot would generate, which means it came at a very high cost. As I mentioned earlier the size of space we permitted was so small, that business owners didn’t have the chance to be creative and use their entrepreneurial spirit. If they were able to secure a permit, the space they had typically couldn’t be any bigger than a city sidewalk. A restaurant, for example, would only be able to add a few tables and chairs and it’s hard to say if those tables would generate enough revenue to pay for the permit, let alone make a profit. 

The Pathway from Idea to Permanent 

I lobbied SDOT to get the program rolling by Memorial Day of 2020. While SDOT couldn’t authorize café street permits until August 2020, I was ecstatic when the permits hit the streets. SDOT also provided businesses on Ballard Avenue with greater flexibility for their outdoor dining and retail spaces.  

The program ultimately opened in August 2020 and was a wild success from the beginning. The August 2020 start date meant that we missed the warmer summer months, but we did have the opportunity to test out the Café Streets through the fall and winter. Still, businesses needed predictability and certainty to be able to make investments in a café street. Businesses that built structures were told that this was a temporary move, meaning business owners did not invest in structures that truly meet their needs – rather they invested in a temporary measure. Businesses needed their structures to be warm in cold weather and then provide shade and respite to outdoor diners in the summer months.  

Initially, SDOT focused on getting permits out the door rather than finalizing permanent regulations. This was a smart move, as it supported the immediate needs of local businesses. This decision – which I support – means the pathway to permanency takes a longer time AND more businesses were served faster.  

After a year of temporary permits, SDOT needed more time to finalize regulations, and local businesses needed certainty. In May 2021, we updated the permits for another year to give businesses the confidence to continue the program, and then in February 2022 we offered another short-term permit update, with the plan that more permanent regulations will be forthcoming. If they need more time to figure out the permanent plans, we will give it to them. Street dining in Seattle is here to stay- permanently- and we will take the time to get it right so that local businesses are supported. 

Ballard Avenue 

We first started with Ballard Avenue as the pilot for the rest of the city because Ballard Avenue is not a through street – the south end of the street is blocked by the Ballard Bridge and the north end is blocked by Market Street. While SDOT couldn’t permit the Café Street until August of 2020, they provided additional flexibility when it came to pergola design. Ballard Avenue was able to build bigger pergolas than other streets in the city and was self-directed with consistent design parameters. Ballard Ave quickly became a citywide pilot for Café Streets across the city.  

“The reason the pergolas in Ballard all have a similar feel and look is because of Tommy Patrick, owner of The Cut, Parrish NW and Bunsoy, created the design, then shared it with neighbors and helped them build it. He did this with the help of his business partner, John Slagle, and Alex Schenkar, a regular from one of Patrick’s restaurants, who happens to be an architect. The designs were shared with other business owners free of cost, with the one caveat that they would pass them along to other business owners if asked. This is the truest to form version of using one’s entrepreneurial spirit, combined with community building,” says Councilmember Dan Strauss.  

Ballard Ave has really come to life with the addition of the Café Street, but there are other areas in Seattle that have been enjoying them as well. 9th Ave in South Lake Union, as well as of Occidental Ave S between S Main and S Jackson in Pioneer Square has enjoyed successful Café Streets that added vibrancy to their neighborhoods. Some that we had during the pandemic, but that is not any longer, include Eden Hill Provisions (W Crockett, Queen Anne), 11th Ave between Pike and Union, and The Patio off Rainier in Columbia City. 

Design Charette Pathway Forward  

In July 2021, I hosted the first of three design charettes to take community ideas and put them on paper. The ability for folks at SiteWorkshop to take a thought and draw it in real-time is incredible – it allowed for robust dreaming of what Ballard Avenue could be and how we would get there. In this first design charrette, we dreamt big – could we have a street dedicated to commerce and vibrancy? The answer was a wholehearted yes! Then we had to work backward to understand what steps needed to take place. We divided the work into three big steps: short-term, interim, and permanent work on Ballard Avenue.  

The pathway to permanency is underway – a design charette led by SDOT is currently in progress. There are three focuses during the design charrettes Café Streets: short-term improvements, interim standards, and permanent standards. Short-term improvements (or easily identifiable quick wins) are currently being implemented and, once these improvements are made, I will host another design charrette focused on permanent design standards of pergolas. 

This upcoming design charrette will seek to inform SDOT about what in the short term was good, what was bad, how to change the bad aspects, and how to expand on the good aspects. Between the short-term and permanent periods will be the interim period. The interim will be the period where new standards are required, and businesses that built structures before these standards were created will have the time they need to comply with new requirements. We anticipate that this interim period will likely be two years. Once this permanent design is finalized, it will inform the permanent city-wide regulations. 

Our next step is to implement the interim changes and host the next design charrette. The next Design charrette will reflect on the benefit and drawbacks of the interim changes, and to look forward by creating standards for pergolas and structures specifically focusing on the structural integrity and aesthetics.  


Our Small Business Work

June 29th, 2020

Small businesses are the foundation of our community and what make our neighborhoods unique and vibrant.  When the COVID-19 pandemic began, there was no playbook to guide our small businesses on how to remain open or survive. Nor was there a guide for how government could provide the necessary help to keep our small businesses afloat. 

As the City, State, and Federal governments began rolling out resources, I knew I needed to shift my staff workloads to ensure that Peter, my Chief of Staff, was there to help small businesses navigate the resources available from all levels of government. While doing this work we found gaps that needed to be filled in these vital programs.

We collected input from small business associations and business owners across District 6 and compiled the identified gaps and solutions, into a letter addressed to our State and Federal delegation of elected leaders. Our letter was signed by the entire City Council on May 4th and sent to Congress ahead of the vote for the next round of COVID-19 relief.

I say, “our letter” because while my office organized the letter, the contents came from our small business community and residents of our District. Thank you to all those that helped make this possible. Specifically thank you to Amy, Raymond, Lara, Grace, and Haley of the Ballard Brewery District; Ian and Jeanie of Seattle Restaurants United; the Ballard Alliance, Brandi at the Fremont Chamber of Commerce; and Chris of the Phinney Neighborhood Association. This is the type of community collaboration I envisioned when I took office.

As your representative, I will continue to use my office to raise the voices of those in need of resources and sensible government solutions. I am thankful for the opportunity to have worked with such dedicated small business leaders and look forward to future collaborations.

 

My office continues to provide support to small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals who want assistance navigating COVID-19 relief resources. To date, we have assisted over 90 local individuals and institutions by:

  • Helping them navigate city, state, and federal relief programs, 
  • Referring them to non-governmental resources such as pro bono legal services, 
  • Updating them on changing government regulations, 
  • Finding and addressing solutions from City departments, and 
  • Advising them on how to negotiate with landlords and other creditors.

We have achieved many successful outcomes with more success stories than this blog post has room for. Here are some highlights of our work:

  • addo Restaurant in Ballard was having issues with ticketing from parking enforcement. We were able stop the ticketing by changing the parking enforcement rules to facilitate customer pickup for takeout orders 
  • Assisted the Fremont Arts Council with rent and utility relief due to the cancellation of their major income generating annual event, the Solstice Parade
  • Advised a long-standing food service establishment in Phinney facing eviction and threats of rent increases by a landlord, getting them some additional time to find another location once the stay-at-home order is lifted
  • Worked with the City of Seattle Arts & Culture Department to clarify the awarding of additional grant money to institutions like the National Nordic Museum in order to help them with budget planning for 2020-21
  • Counseled and referred a restaurant owner in Fremont to resources for help with unemployment benefits for employees including undocumented workers
  • Assisted a plumbing company in Ballard to quickly apply for City of Seattle and Small Business Administration relief programs at the outset of the crisis
  • Helped a small fitness facility near Woodland Park Zoo avoid eviction under the City moratorium and negotiate a repayment plan
  • Advised a small coffee brewing company on how to continue paying its employees full wages while navigating the Paycheck Protection Program application and requirements in order to receive a forgivable loan to stay open.

There are so many more stories: from helping a gentleman get his improperly towed car returned, to guiding a pet-sitting business on how to navigate City departments in order to address construction and driveway access issues. We continue to help District 6 residents every day. If you need assistance with anything during this crisis, please reach out to us at Dan.Strauss@Seattle.gov and Peter.Nguyen@Seattle.gov. We are here to help. 

 

Here is the full text of the letter we sent to the State and Federal delegations:

Dear Senator Murray, Senator Cantwell, Representative Smith, Representative Jayapal, Governor Inslee, Attorney General Ferguson, Speaker Jinkins, and Majority Leader Billig:

We appreciate the leadership you have all demonstrated in steering our state and nation through the unprecedented crisis brought about by the outbreak of COVID-19. In response to the pandemic’s impact on local enterprises, the City of Seattle has bolstered our Small Business Stabilization Fund, provided tax and utility relief, prohibited rent increases for nonprofits and small businesses during the public health emergency, gave nonprofit and small business tenants a longer period of time to pay overdue rent and required their landlords to accept reasonable payment plans, and enhanced business constituent support services through the Mayor’s Office, all nine City Council Offices, and our various City departments.

However, based upon our daily conversations with local establishments throughout the City of Seattle, even in light of these measures, as well as various forms of state and federal support up to this point, the outlook for small businesses remains very bleak. As such, on behalf of these valued neighbors and constituents, we seek to highlight additional needs and measures that can be taken to save small businesses. These include:

Increased Flexibilitypage1image2413002480

  •  Support an extension of the current City of Seattle moratorium on commercial evictions to the either twelve (12) months or twice the length of the state of emergency (whichever is greater) and legislate appropriate repayment terms between landlords and tenants. For businesses, getting back on track financially will be a long haul. Many have ceased production/operations in the wake of the crisis and will not be able to open their doors and operate at full capacity as soon as the stay-at-home order is lifted. Additionally, many will have missed months where high levels of revenue are generated and placed in reserves for the slower season. Lastly, there is uncertainty around the appetite of the general public for gathering and how soon people will return to their previous level of spending. By extending the commercial eviction moratorium, we can enable more businesses to survive this crisis. In addition, we ask that a cap of five percent (5%) repayment per month is enacted for the first twelve (12) months following the crisis.
  • Forbearance of business mortgage payments. Many small businesses are renters, and will be relying in the coming months on the generosity of their landlords in setting up rent reductions or abatements. If this happens, commercial property owners, some of whom are small landholders rather than large developers, may be left shouldering all of the burden of this crisis. Please use your political power to urge or mandate the banking sector and regulatory authorities to suspend commercial mortgage payments for at least twelve (12) months, so these landlords can then extend lenient terms to their renters. If the banks shoulder some of the burden, they make it possible for all of the partners in the chain — from the landowner, to the business renters, to the business vendors — to collectively put payments on hold while they all make it through to the other side of this crisis.
  • Payroll credits to compensate workers for lost wages. Keep workers employed through payroll credits that compensate for lost wages due to COVID-19-related closures. Payroll credits will be made available to small business owners, demonstrating proven need, and their employees while their business operations are restricted or shut down. Maintaining employment through this mechanism will reduce the strain on unemployment insurance which is inundated with requests and offers insufficient assistance (at 60% compensation rates).
  • Support a Paycheck Guarantee that covers 100% of wages for workers and ensures workers remain enrolled in employer-sponsored benefits including health care. Maintaining workers’ income will provide financial relief throughout the pandemic and speed up the economic recovery.

Greater Predictability

  • Consistency and clarity in government messaging. When formal guidance or regulations are being issued, it would be helpful to have consistent, clear, and coordinated messaging from all levels of government. For example, business owners have expressed confusion regarding issues such as Full-time Equivalents vs. Employees and the definition of Bars & Restaurants, without mention of whether or not this includes Breweries and Tasting Rooms.

Procedural and Legal Guidance for Small Businesses Navigating Relief Programs

  • Provide funding for technical assistance to all small businesses to help them navigate federal assistance programs.
  • Provide non-English speaking small business owners and those without regular access to the internet with assistance in applying for relief programs to put them on an equal footing with their peers, consistent with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of their race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. Given that, according to an April 22 CBS News report, upwards of 90% of businesses owned by people of color have been, or will likely be, shut out of the Paycheck Protection Program, this would ensure equitable access to government support programs for all Washington State businesses.
  • Provide access to mediators who can help small businesses and landlords find a path to agreeable terms regarding repayment in the absence of a mortgage payment holiday for landlords provided by banks as suggested above (which is the optimal solution).

Ensure Equitable Access to Relief Programs/Fundspage3image2432255952

  • Establish a grant program that better aligns with the needs of small businesses. Significant resources are needed for loans and grants that assist minority owned, businesses in underserved communities, and businesses that are underserved by the traditional banking system. Loans and grants should serve truly small businesses who have been left out of other programs and assistance.
  • Processing of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) should be standardized so that all small business applicants have equitable access. The experience of applying for these two programs has varied widely from business to business and bank to bank. It has also been fraught with missteps, misinformation and brick walls.
  • Ensure that smaller small businesses have equitable access to funding opportunities. The PPP funding was issued on a first-come first served basis, which favored larger banks and businesses that had more robust infrastructure for responding to the SBA’s instructions, and made it harder for small banks (and thus smaller businesses) to access funding. As written, the limited PPP funds are open to franchises and any corporation where the employees at any given location number fewer than five hundred (500). Restaurant and hotel chains with their own legal departments, tax advisors, and law firms on retainer enjoy an incredible and unfair advantage over our state’s small establishments.
  • The PPP benefit has severe structural issues which must be remedied. Loan forgiveness under the PPP was set based upon payroll costs covered during the sixty (60) days after the loan origination. This fails to benefit businesses that are required to have their doors closed until the quarantine is lifted. It is preferable to have set-asides based on characteristics of the business rather than the lender characteristics in the future rounds of funding. The priority should be ensuring the program is structured to incentivize employees returning to work in fair, safe, and healthy workplaces.
  • Provide direct grant stimulus to small businesses. The Federal government should consider a microbusiness or small business relief program along the lines of the individual $1,200 direct stimulus issued to individual taxpayers in order to infuse critical operating cash into struggling small businesses as soon as possible.

Long-Term Solutions Beyond the Immediate “Crisis” Period

  • Fight for adequate testing and contact tracking capabilities so that our employees and patrons can remain as safe as possible as businesses gradually reopen and to ensure that a resurgence of cases does not lead to further shutdowns in the future, either after a too-early reopening or after a possible fall resurgence.
  • Provide federal stimulus funds directly to Cities so that they can be utilized on forms of local small business support such as utility forbearance and extended or discounted repayment plans.
  • Advocate for or require all business insurance carriers to include or offer a rider for pandemic coverage in their policies.
  • Suspension of or decrease in federal taxes on small businesses for an extended period during and beyond the “crisis”.
  • Institute a PPP-style loan forgiveness program supporting businesses when they are able to reopen their doors and return to full employment levels.
  • Provide forbearance on commercial loans, on the basis of proven need, with requirement that landlords which receive such forbearance pass it on to their tenant who are making lease payments.
  • Provide additional grants, loans, and deferments prioritized for small businesses which are not allowed to fully reopen as quickly or fully as others, because business restrictions are sure to continue during a step-by-step reopening process.
  • Enact a tax credit for re-hiring laid-off or furloughed workers to encourage small businesses to re-invigorate their communities by putting people back to work. Each worker that is re-hired by a qualifying small business in 2020 would entitle that business to a $2,000 tax credit per re-hired employee on their 2020 or 2021 federal tax return.
  • Increase production and distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such that all small business employees may have the option to protect themselves.

Again, we are very appreciative of your leadership during this global pandemic, and look forward to continued dialogue with you on how we can collectively best be helpful to the small businesses which make the City of Seattle a vibrant and unique place to live and visit.


Land Use Legislation // Ballard Commons Update // Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade Postponed // “Drive-Thru” Farmers Market // COVID-19 Updates and Resources

May 1st, 2020

Neighbors,

As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic I would like to update you on emerging issues, update you on how we’re addressing the pandemic, how we can support each other and our small businesses, and how I can help you.

In this week’s newsletter we begin with information from City Council, district updates, news from around the city, and in the second half we have included additional and continuing COVID-19 updates and resources. If you need help navigating these resources, please reach out to my office:

I remain humbled and honored to represent you. Please continue to contact our office if you need assistance on any matter.

–Dan

At City Council

Land Use Legislation

On Monday, the City Council passed emergency legislation which I sponsored to allow urgently needed housing projects to continue forward with permitting during the COVID-19 emergency. Without action, many housing projects, including affordable housing projects, would have been severely delayed or lost entirely, exacerbating our housing crisis and costing jobs.

The legislation allows projects which would usually require a public meeting to instead be reviewed by City staff and take public comment online. These provisions will automatically end when meetings can resume in-person or virtually, or after six months. I look forward to no longer needing these changes, and until then, I am glad we took action to save housing and jobs.

I am grateful to Mayor Durkan or her leadership and to all of my fellow Councilmembers for their thorough review of the legislation. The two weeks it took to pass is a testament to how much we all care about getting things right in this difficult time.

Read more about this emergency legislation here.

Interested in Joining the King County Regional Homelessness Authority?

The Seattle City Council is currently seeking applicants their two appointments to the implementation board of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority.  The implementation board conducts operations and management of all Authority affairs.

The council will be accepting materials from individuals interested in serving on the Implementation Board until close of business May 11th.

The application can be found here.

In District 6

Ballard Commons Update

Since my first days in office, and long before the COVID-19 pandemic OR the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, I have been working to address the situation in and around Ballard Commons Park. City Councilmembers do not have direct control of City Departments as they report directly to the Mayor and I have used every tool available to me in my Legislative role to call attention to the urgent needs in and around the park.

As a result of my daily conversations with the Mayor’s office, the Mayor has focused City resources on Ballard Commons Park including moving 17 people out of the park into 24/7 enhanced shelter, and increasing police presence in the area. For more information on how the City is responding please read my blog for an in-depth update. 

As we move out of this crisis I remain committed to create long-term solutions that address the roots of the issues we are experiencing. We must act urgently to address social service gaps, and interventions in problematic behavior.

Office Hours

My commitment to hosting district office hours every week continues! We have  appointments available each week and with the current public health situation, I am hosting telephone district office hours.

I would love to talk to you and if you would like to meet please sign up online here. Please note: In order to respect constituents’ time, everyone requesting a meeting during office hours will need to schedule ahead of time.

Constituent Meeting with a Seattle Musician

I have not allowed the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order to interfere with my ability to meet with constituents about a variety of issues, both involving and not involving COVID. I had a great meeting last week with a constituent named Lori and would like to share with you what she is working on.

Lori has been advocating for some time (well before COVID) for improved working conditions for our local musicians. Lori told me about the sub-minimum wages that musicians are often forced to live off. Despite Seattle’s rich musical history, musicians have been increasingly squeezed by reduced payouts from venues and other institutions over the past few years. Without representation for working artists, it has become more and more difficult for musicians to justify staying in the city. Many musicians have already moved away seeking a place where they can survive as a professional musician.

Lori explained that Seattle has an extremely low median musician income of $12.05 per hour. The lack of concerts due to the COVID outbreak has worsened an already difficult situation. Lori fears that as music venues push for grants that will allow them to reopen when the stay at home order is lifted, there will not be similar aid given to help the struggling musicians who fill those venues.

Bongos Cafe, Resilience during COVID

A few weeks back I had the chance to talk with Dan, the owner of Bongos Cafe.  Bongos Cafe, a small Greenlake restaurant serving Caribbean food and amazing hot sauces imported all the way from Costa Rica, has been a shining example of how to adapt to changing community needs. Since March, the Bongos Family has been working to keep their facilities spotless and up to the changing health code. They moved quickly to partner with food delivery services as they reverted to exclusively takeout and delivery service, and continue to be open from 11-8 Wednesday through Sunday.

Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade Postponed

Unfortunately both the Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade have been postponed until 2021. The Fremont Chamber of Commerce has cancelled these two events in order to continue combating the spread of COVID-19. “Now more than ever, we must do our part to remain vigilant in protecting our local and global community.”

“Drive-Thru” Farmers Market

I am excited to say that the Ballard Farmers Markets has reopened with the approval of the Public Health Department and the Mayor. Over the past few weeks I have been working with Seattle King County Public Health and the Mayor’s Office to reopen our Farmers Markets in a safe way. Farmers markets are a vital resource in our communities that allow community members to support their local farmers and artisans.

The Market has revised its operations into a Drive-Thru Farmers Market with limited walk-up customers, and very strict health, safety and sanitation guidelines. Please read the Ballard Farmers Market FAQ about how the market will work.

Measures include:

  • No sampling, no selling ready-to-eat food, no refilling reusable containers
  • Limiting the number of shoppers in the market at one time
  • Segregation of money/market currency and food handling
  • All vendors and staff must wear protective gloves and ensure regular and proper handwashing
  • Increasing distance between vendor booths
  • Increased safety signage

Seattle Farmers Market Association (SFMA) staff will be assigned to conduct regular and ongoing checks for handwashing stations, sanitizing supplies in addition to our regular food safety controls

Furthermore, in order to keep the market as safe as possible, the Seattle Farmers Market Association are asking you to follow these guidelines:

  • STAY HOME if you are sick or if I have been in contact with someone who is sick.
  • Make a shopping list before visiting the market.
  • Pre-order and prepay vendors if possible.
  • Designate one shopper per household.
  • Leave your pet at home unless it is a service dog.
  • Not touch products, but instead, ask a vendor for what you would like.
  • Maintain 6 feet of space at all times.
  • Shop quickly and efficiently – 10 minutes or less
  • Use the provided hand sanitizer and handwashing stations at the market.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, and face in general.
  • Wear a face mask if you have one available.

Let’s support our local artisans in a safe and respectful way!

You can pre-order from vendors here and more information can be found here.

Please note that the Fremont Sunday Market is postponed until May 17th.

Around the City

Stay Healthy Streets 

SDOT just announced the opening of 11 more miles of Stay Healthy Streets. This along with the addition of 6 miles last week brings the total distance of Stay Healthy Streets to 20 miles which build off Seattle’s 196 miles of existing trails. These roads are closed to through traffic to allow for safe social distancing while walking, rolling, running, skating and biking. There are new Stay Healthy Streets in Greenwood, Ballard, and Green Lake as well as in several other neighborhoods throughout the city. I am grateful to SDOT for helping us take advantage of the outdoors while maintaining safe distance.

While outside, please remember to adhere to keep it moving guidelines:

  • Stay Home. If you need to leave the house, visit your neighborhood park.
  • Keep it Moving. Keep walking, running, or biking. That means no picnics, no BBQs, no sports, no gatherings at our parks.
  • Visit parks, greenways and farmers markets at off peak hours
  • If you see a crowd, go somewhere else

West Seattle Bridge Closure

The West Seattle Bridge closed on March 23rd after inspectors found rapidly growing cracks along the center section of the bridge. After assessing the damage, SDOT announced that the bridge would not reopen until at least 2022. SDOT is currently working to stabilize the bridge. Engineers are also in the process of determining if the bridge is worth salvaging and by spring should know whether the bridge needs to be replaced sooner than later. Any fix would likely only prolong the bridge’s life for another 10 years.

The Council has been in contact with director Sam Zimbabwe and SDOT about how to proceed with fixing or replacing the bridge. In the meantime, travel to and from West Seattle will be rerouted via the 1st Ave. S Bridge. The low bridge is reserved for transit and emergency needs. SDOT is continuing to work to reduce traffic and wait times. More information can be found on the SDOT Blog.

COVID-19 Updates and Resources

Governor Inslee has extended the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order through May 31st. At that time, businesses will be able to reopen in four phases while modifying physical distancing measures. Phases slowly relax restrictions on outdoor recreation, gatherings, travel and businesses. Each phase will last for a minimum of 3 weeks, though some counties with lower numbers of cases and deaths may be able to open parts of their economy sooner if approved by the Department of Health. The Governor is relying on science to tell us when we can reopen.

Read more about the Governor’s plan to reopen the state here. The reopening process is in sight but we must make sure to follow guidelines in order to make this transition effective and safe. In the meantime, continue to socially distance, stay home, and stay healthy.

Ballard Food Bank – Operation Change

The Ballard Food Bank has changed its operations to ensure neighbors from northwest Seattle can safely access food. Please check their website (www.ballardfoodbank.org) prior to visiting for the most updated hours and available services. The food bank has shifted from its grocery style shopping model to pre-packed bags of perishable and non-perishable items. Please note the following services and ways to access:

  • Home Delivery Tues/Wed/Thurs: The food bank is temporarily expanding their home delivery program. Food will be dropped off at your front door. To sign up for this program enroll here. This is the preferred method of sign-up. Or you can call the food bank at 206-789-7800 ext. 7. Please note, you only need to sign up once and then deliveries will happen weekly. The food bank will call you the day before your delivery to let you know the delivery window.
  • Drive Thru Food Bank Mon/Wed/Thurs: The food bank is open to visits once per week. They are using the Café Mox parking lot next to the food bank. Cars will enter from Leary into the lot. They will join a car queue and when it’s their turn, volunteers will load a pre-packed food box into their trunk or car without requiring person to person contact. Neighbors will have the choice of protein, dairy, milk and eggs. Please stay in your car and do not park.
  • No-Cook Bags/Groceries: The food bank continues to offer no-cook bags/groceries to our neighbors who are homeless every day they are open. These will be offered at the side door of the food bank on NW Ione Place.
  • Mail & Sandwiches: Mail and sandwiches will be offered at the front door during open hours.
  • Weekend Food For Kids: For families receiving a Weekend Food for Kids bag please come to the front door, or if you are driving through for groceries, you may ask for a Weekend Food For Kids bag. Please show us your voucher.
  • Community Resource Hub: The food bank’s financial assistance for eviction and utilities will be available by phone or email. You may call 206-789-7800 extension 2 or email Nathaniel at nathaniell@ballardfoodbank.org.  Vouchers for ID and licenses are not available at this time.

Grant Programs

The Plate Fund is providing immediate financial assistance to restaurant-industry workers who have been hit hard in King County. While our goal is to help as many people as possible, priority is given to applicants most in need, and the order applications are received.

Facebook’s Small Business Grant

Facebook is offering $4000 grants to recipients in the US ($2500 cash, $1500 in optional ads credits) to help during this challenging time. To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • Be a for-profit company
  • Have between 2 and 50 employees
  • Have been in business for over a year
  • Have experienced challenges from COVID-19
  • Be in or near a location where Facebook operates

Visit their website for more information and to apply.

Continuing Resources

Here we have compiled a list of resources that we’ve sent out. If you need any help navigating these resources please let us know.

General COVID Information and resources:

Ways to report non-compliance with the Stay at Home order:
DO NOT CALL 911 to report a Stay Home, Stay Healthy violation.

Use the following resources instead:

Resources to help small, local businesses:

Additional Resources:

Puget Sound Energy Bill Assistance

Puget Sound Energy is making $11 million available to help customers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 through its Crisis-Affected Customer Assistance Program (CACAP). Funds will help customers who recently became unemployed, partially unemployed, or cannot work.

Funds are also available in PSE’s other assistance programs, including the Warm Home Fund, PSE Home Energy Lifeline Program and Weatherization Assistance Program for income-eligible customers.

Metro & Sound Transit – More Reductions

If you need help navigating these resources, please reach out to my office:


Ballard Commons Park; COVID-19 Updates; Success Stories

April 13th, 2020

Neighbors,

As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 Pandemic I would like to update you on emerging issues, updates on addressing the pandemic, how we can support each other and our small businesses, and how I can help you.

At the bottom of this newsletter are success stories of how my office is assisting the community, and how residents are supporting each other. If you need to brighten your day with some good news – skip to the end of this newsletter.

Our office continues to assist District 6 small businesses stay afloat, helping residents navigate housing and food resources, and addressing individuals’ concerns – from parking enforcement to what to expect in the coming days and weeks.

If you need help navigating these resources, please reach out to my office:

I remain humbled and honored to represent you. Please continue to contact our office if you need help navigating COVID-19 relief resources.

Ballard Commons Park

When I was elected, I knew as a lifelong Ballard resident that one of the first issues I needed to tackle was the situation in and around Ballard Commons Park. In my first two months in office I began the work to address this situation behind the scenes, and then COVID-19 hit. I continue monitoring Ballard Commons in-person and I opened my district office at the Customer Service Center (next to the library) to increase my presence in the area.

When it comes to solving this issue or any community problem, we have to understand the history, who has the authority address it, and who is responsible for implementing solutions. For instance, City Councilmembers do not have direct control of City Departments, as they report directly to the Mayor. During times of stated civil emergency the City Council has an even further limited role in the issuance of directives, as the Mayor is empowered to respond dynamically to the emerging crisis. It is my job to communicate with you, our residents of District 6, about what I know and how the City is responding.

I am not waiting for others to act because our community is in crisis and this is an urgent issue. I called a meeting of all departments with jurisdiction in this area including: Seattle King County Public Health, Human Services Department, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Police Department, Seattle Public Libraries, Seattle Public Utilities, Finance and Administrative Services, and the Mayor’s Office. It is important to note that Mayor Durkan and I have spoken about Ballard Commons Park, she agrees that this situation needs to be addressed, and thus far City Departments have been responsive. Still, my efforts will only be as successful as what is directed by the Mayor, what City Departments implement, and how we support our community partners in creating solutions. Overall, we need to do more, and we need to work faster.

These are the updates from King County Public Health I have received:

The City’s initial response to these Hepatitis-A cases include:

  • The most important strategy for addressing Hepatitis A is vaccination, and as part of a 2-year Hep A vaccination effort, Public Health mobilized several clinics in the Ballard area in March and are continuing weekly clinics and outreach three times per week
  • Public Health- Seattle King County Environmental Health team has connected with Seattle Parks & Recreation to confirm best practice sanitation procedures of the Portland Loo at the Seattle Commons
  • Human Services Department and the Navigation Team are conducting outreach with hygiene kits three times per week
  • Seattle Public Utilities increased proactive cleaning to four times per week and servicing the garbage can in front of the library five times per week
  • Seattle Police Department’s Community Police Teams, Anti-Crime Teams, and Bike Patrols are supplementing patrols
  • Seattle Parks and Recreation reopened the Portland Loo with cleaning three times daily and picking up litter three times per week
  • The City is providing a handwashing station and portable toilets at Ballard Commons Park

Until we stand up appropriate shelter options, we need to manage what is currently an unmanaged encampment. This requires the city increasing:

  • Security for housed and unhoused neighbors
  • Access to restrooms and handwashing
  • Access to drinking water and food
  • Sanitation and cleaning
  • Pathways to appropriate shelter space
  • Pathways to stable housing

I will continue to update you with the information I have about the City’s response to these Hepatitis-A cases.

The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing and magnifying the gaps in our social services. Councilmember Lewis called a Select Committee on Homelessness Strategies and Investments to highlight these issues and you can watch the Committee presentations here.

We must act urgently, and you can count on me to continue addressing social service gaps and interventions in problematic behavior.

I will continue to post any updates I have regarding my work at Ballard Commons with my blog. Please check there for the most recent information.

–Dan

COVID-19 UPDATES

Last Thursday, Governor Inslee extended the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order until May 4th.

I am happy to say that we have been doing a great job adhering to the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order and we need to stay vigilant to ensure that we can keep our community as healthy as possible. Let’s keep it up!

  • The order requires people stay home unless they are involved in an essential activity like shopping for groceries, going to a doctor’s appointment, or working at an essential business.
  • Going outside, walking your dog, going for a run, biking and working in your garden are all still allowed, as long as social distancing of at least six feet is practiced when with someone who doesn’t live in the same household as you.
  • Essential activities also include caring for a family member, friend, or pet in another household or residence, or driving a family member, friend or pet somewhere for an essential health or safety activity.

DO NOT CALL 911 to report a Stay Home, Stay Healthy violation. Please use these resources:

Metro – Temporary Reduction in Hours

Due to COVID-19 and the reduction of ridership, King County Metro made some changes to how we use transit. Until further notice, Metro has suspended fare payments, require back door entry unless the rider has mobility challenges, and began reducing hours starting on March 23rd. On April 6th, Metro began following a revised schedule . Please visit their page here to check route changes that may effect you. 

Social Distancing

Remember, behave as if you are contagious because you may not know if you’ve contracted the virus for two weeks.

Please use the resources below for current information on how to keep you and your family safe and healthy:

Supporting our Small Businesses

Businesses Still Open and Delivering Food

Many restaurants are still open and need your business. The City of Seatte has a #SupportSeattleSmallBiz map where you can enter your location and find open restaurants available for delivery or take-out. If you are a business owner that would like to be added to the map, please email: supportsmallbiz@seattle.gov

There are also neighborhood websites that you can visit to support small business. The Fremont Chamber of Commerce has a site for small business in Fremont.

The Ballard Alliance also created this amazing page so that we can all continue to shop local! This is an on-line marketplace of Ballard businesses and is an easy way to support our neighborhood businesses from the convinience of home. Check out: visitballard.com/shop

If you have additional resources to support small business, please email me at Dan.Strauss@seattle.gov.

Help for Workers

The Unemployment Law Project is a useful resource to provide help in the COVID crisis. The Unemployment Law Project provides low-cost representation and free advice and counsel to people in Washington State who have been denied unemployment benefits or whose award of benefits is being challenged. Go to www.unemploymentlawproject.org or call 206-441-9178 for more information.

Services for Aged Neighbors

Have aging or disability issues? Call Community Living Connections (toll-free) at 1-844-348-5464. Community Living Connections is Seattle/King County’s info and support services center for aged adults, adults with disabilities and their caregivers.They can provide you with objective and confidential information about community resources and service options.

Resources for Immigrants and Non-English speakers

These times are difficult for all of us and it is vitally important that we take care of everyone in our community. One America, the largest immigrant and refugee advocacy organization in Washington State has compiled a list of resources in Washington State. Many of the resources are in multiple languages and include resources at every level of government as well as for well-being and anti-racism assistance.

Volunteer Opportunity

United Way of King County has compiled safe ways to volunteer during this crisis. Check out current opportunities in Seattle here.

SUCCESS STORIES

Helping D6 Residents

I have received many calls and emails from constituents requesting help during this trying time and I am pleased to be able to share one of our success stories!

Two weeks ago, Carl, a District 6 resident, called to report that two vehicles had been wrongfully towed and impounded.

Carl explained that he is 75, disabled, and was doing his best to stay healthy during the recent COVID-19 outbreak. He was trying to balance his health with the City of Seattle’s parking rules that require that vehicles be moved at least every 72 hours.  He said, “I do not want to die,” and that he also didn’t want to have his vehicle towed, so he was going to comply despite the directive to for high-risk residents to stay inside. Carl figured since he already had to go outside to move his vehicle, he would also help his neighbor, Sandy, who is 70 and also disabled, move hers too.

Despite Carl’s best efforts, the Police Department parking enforcement applied “Notice to Impound” stickers on both vehicles, which identified the date they were to be impounded as March 9th at 10:10 am. Carl explained that when he went outside to comply with the impound notice on March 9th around 9:30am. He realized that Sandy’s vehicle had already been towed and that his car was getting hitched to the tow truck. He protested saying that he still had time to comply, and he was correct.

Lena, a staffer in my office, helped Carl relay these facts to parking enforcement where they agreed that Carl’s vehicle was wrongfully impounded and made sure that his car was returned to the spot where it was taken.

To date, Sandy’s vehicle has not been returned because the plates are expired, making it illegally parked. The vehicle was scheduled to be auctioned on April 4th, but thanks to Lena, we were able to convince the Seattle Municipal Court not to pursue that route and secured more time for Sandy to come into compliance. Lena and I are committed to getting Sandy’s car returned in the near future.

Throughout this experience there were members of our City family that helped us accomplish this work. Thank you, Seattle Police Officer A. Ridlon, who displayed tremendous kindness, understanding, and concern for Carl and Sandy’s well-being. Every City employee we worked with on this matter acknowledged the situation was unfortunate and worked hard and fast to resolve the issue. All were concerned about keeping Carl and Sandy safe while maintaining the integrity of the City’s Parking Enforcement Codes.

Things to remembe

The Mayor has suspended most parking enforcement at this time including: 72-hr parking, paid parking, booting, and temporary restaurant loading zones. However, other parking rules still apply. More information about parking rules can be found here.

If your vehicle is impounded call the SPD non-emergency line at (206) 625-5011. They will locate the vehicle and help you through the process to have it returned. If your vehicle was improperly impounded call the Customer Service Bureau (CSB) directly at 206-684-2489 (684-CITY).  CSB will investigate, and if wrongdoing is discovered they can work with the Municipal Courts to get your vehicle back.

If you ever need assistance navigating our City’s departments, rules, or regulations, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office – we are here to help you!

Helping Small Businesses

Peter Nguyen in my office has been working on a daily basis to guide small businesses and non-profits to helpful information and resources during this period of crisis. One of the businesses we assisted is a local fitness studio which had contacted their property management regarding rent relief. When the landlord responded that it did not believe commercial rents fall under the state/federal moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent, we provided the tenant with a direct link to the City of Seattle Civil Emergency Order Moratorium on Small Business Tenant Evictions and follow-up guidance on how to navigate the situation. The City of Seattle Alternative Dispute Resolution Program can be a helpful resource for mediating potential conflicts such as this.

We also worked with a responsible and socially-conscious Fremont restaurant owner who is trying to assist his employees, some of whom are immigrants, to access unemployment and other relief programs by referring them to both the Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs and pro bono legal counsel.

In addition, my office was able to research information for a non-profit in Ballard regarding what form of relief grant they could anticipate receiving from the City’s Art Stabilization Fund in order to help them engage in budget and contingency planning for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Ballard Sprouts

The Ballard Sprouts program is the perfect example of our district’s resilience. The Ballard Sprouts program starts seeds and grows plants for gardeners who grow food for food banks. Volunteers have been working alone (or together if a couple) six feet apart transplanting seedlings into pots. Thanks to their hard work, starts will be ready to distribute in early April to Seattle gardeners growing for the Food Banks. What an amazing way to help our neighbors while staying safe and taking advantage of the outdoors! For more information visit Sustainable Ballard’s website.

1,000 Gallons of Hand Sanitizer Delivered by Fremont Mischief!

Fremont Mischief Distillery has distributed their 1,000th gallon of hand sanitizer with another 1,000 to be delivered this week. “It is so nice to know that you are helping people out every day, but in these tough times it feels even better,” says Mischief.

If you are still in need we have personal sizes available in our Tasting Room, open Wednesday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

For larger quantities please order online here.

Office Hours

My commitment to hosting district office hours every week continues! We have had all our appointments filled each week and with the current public health situation, I am hosting telephone district office hours.

If you would like to speak with me or staff during this time please sign up online here. Please note: In order to respect constituents’ time, everyone requesting a meeting during office hours will need to schedule ahead of time.


COVID-19 Update // Fremont Walking Tour

March 24th, 2020

Neighbors, So much has changed in the weeks since I emailed you last. In this newsletter we have updates from before the COVID-19 State of Emergency, resources for you to use during this emergency, and a reminder to use our office to help you navigate access to these resources.

Our office is already assisting D6 small businesses stay afloat, helping people navigate housing and food resources, and addressing individuals’ concerns – from parking enforcement to what to expect in the coming days and weeks. If you need help navigating these resources, please reach out to my office:

COVID-19 Information


Seattle is strong. We lead the nation in response to this pandemic because we chose to take this seriously from the beginning. Like the University of Washington, who did not wait for testing to be available and created their own. We were the first in the nation to tell seniors to stay at home, and we are the first to start a vaccine trial. We were also the first to extend Unemployment Insurance benefits (there is still more to do), and we are the first to ban both residential and commercial evictions, which is now national policy. We are operating under the guidance of our public health professionals and are using scientifically-backed strategies to address this emergency situation.

COMBATTING COVID-19 WITH SOCIAL DISTANCING


Social distancing is an extremely important and effective method of limiting the number of people who get sick. One reason is because people can be contagious without being symptomatic or may not realize they are experiencing symptoms of this virus. Either way, this means people could unknowingly spread COVID-19, like this couple who both tested positive for COVID-19 and had very different symptoms. The more distance we give each other and the fewer unnecessary trips we take out of our homes, the safer we’ll all be.

Remember, behave as if you are contagious because you may not know if you’ve contracted the virus for at least two weeks.

This is a rapidly evolving situation and my newsletter is not the place to get up-to-the-minute information. Please use the resources below for current information on how to keep you and your family safe and healthy:

OTHER RESOURCES FOR COVID-19

Meal Support for Students

 

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is distributing lunches from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every weekday at 26 school sites throughout the city. On the left is the citywide map and on the right is the NW Seattle map for public school lunch sites. All SPS students can participate. Lunch distribution sites can be also be found on SPS’s family resource page.

$5 Million in Grocery Vouchers for Families

Mayor Durkan announced that a $5 million grocery voucher program will distribute $800 to 6,250 eligible families who are currently enrolled in City-supported child care programs and food assistance programs. The Office of Sustainability and Environment (OSE) will distribute the grocery vouchers in two $400 installments, and vouchers will be distributed by mail as early as this week.

Relief for Small Businesses

DEADLINE TO APPLY IS MARCH 25TH!

City Council voted and passed emergency legislation to support small businesses. Council Bill 119757, transfers $1.5 million in city funds to the Small Business Stabilization Fund, which will support vulnerable small businesses in Seattle that are facing financial uncertainty due to the public’s economic response to COVID-19. Are you a small business in need of assistance? My office is here to help! Please email Peter Nguyen to assist you navigating resources.

Utility Bill Relief

Council also passed Council Bill 119758, which waives interest charges on delinquent utility bills during this crisis. This legislation relates to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s announcement that Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities will provide other utility relief for residential, small business, and nonprofit customers, including flexible payment plans and no shut-offs during this crisis.

In District 6

Small Business Walking Tour: Fremont


As a part of my role as your Councilmember, I make it a priority to regularly walk and talk with business owners and community members in different neighborhoods across the district. So far we have visited Ballard, Phinneywood, and Greenlake. Two weeks ago we were in the Fremont neighborhood. Before the pandemic hit, we had planned to be in Upper Fremont/ Phinney this week and Crown Hill later this month. We look forward to rescheduling these walks as soon as possible. Please reach out to my office if you’d like to be included!

NOTE: The following photos were taken before the Social Distancing requirement was in place – in the photos we are too close. For successful social distancing – please keep six feet between you and others.


Dave Page, the Cobbler, is the Sole of Fremont and is famous around the globe for repairing hiking boots. When you google, “cobbler” his name appears which explains why he hasn’t needed to advertise in 25 years! My family has had countless boots repaired here over the years and it was a pleasure to chat with him about doing international business in Fremont.

Ophelia’s Books, has an amazing selection and is still using “Underground Fremont” which is similar to “Underground Seattle” in Pioneer Square. Jill who owns Ophelia’s Books spoke to me about the importance of reliable transit and housing her employees can afford. During our conversation we realized we were longtime neighbors living a few doors down from one another – Seattle is still a small town in many ways!

The street entrance for Dusty Strings can be easy to miss and when you descend the stairs into “Underground Fremont” you find a labyrinth of studio space for lessons, practice space, instrument repair, a show room for many different types of instruments, and even a small concert space for quarterly concerts. Morgan also spoke to me about the importance of transit reliability because parking in Fremont is difficult. His customers are often people waiting for their late bus. We are working in my office to address transit reliability because we know you can’t rely on the bus if it doesn’t have a consistent travel time or frequency. If you have not explored Dusty Strings, you must go (once the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order is reduced).

My next stop was Schilling Cider House where I met with Sarah, who is a life long Seattleite and has concerns for her employees being able to afford to live in the city, parking availability in Fremont, and a specific concern for pedestrian crossings at the south end of the Fremont Bridge. In our conversation we realized we had been taught by the same teacher growing up – another small town moment!

One of my last stops was at with Ted who owns and operates the restaurant, Swell. We talked about the ups and downs of doing business in the city, as he cares for his team and focuses on creating benefits for the community and city. It is hard when it feels like there is not a holistic view from the City when issuing different fees and requirements including signage fees, licenses, and patio fees as just a few examples. Making sure our fees are right-sized and thought out is important to me, and is an issue I have raised many times in my first two months in office. These walking tours are an important way for me to hear from the people who make District 6 interesting, unique, and the place we all love. Before COVID-19 we were hosting walking tours every two weeks. I look forward to returning to walk and talk in your neighborhood as soon as possible. Small businesses are an essential fabric of our community. If you or a small business you know needs assistance navigating available resources please email me and my staff Peter Nguyen.

NOTE: photos above and below were taken before the Social Distancing requirement was in place – in the photos we are too close. For successful social distancing – please keep six feet between you and others.

Metro Route 40: Opportunity for Public Feedback

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) wants to hear from you! If you haven’t yet, please take the Route 40 survey so that SDOT can learn about how you can get around and identify which speed and reliability improvements matter most to you. You can find out more information on the project here.

Market Street Construction Update

The construction on Market Street in Ballard has taken longer than anticipated due to a number of variables. I have had the pleasure of working with local business owners and the Seattle Department of Transportation to address concerns on project scope, delivery, and schedule. These businesses at the west end of Market Street were the first and are the last to be impacted by construction. Walking the construction site with SDOT, I was able to voice concerns and receive feedback on ways that we can improve the project moving forward.

NOTE: photos above were taken before the Social Distancing requirement was in place – in the photos we are too close. For successful social distancing – please keep six feet between you and others.

Office Hours

My commitment to hosting district office hours every week continues! With the current public health situation, I will be hosting telephone district office hours. If you would like to speak with me or staff during this time please sign up online here. Please note: In order to respect constituents’ time, everyone requesting a meeting during office hours will need to schedule ahead of time.

UPDATE: Block the Box Legislation Passed!


I am pleased to announce that the Block the Box Legislation (HB 1793 and SB 5789) that I testified in support of, passed! As I’ve said, Blocking the Box violations occur hundreds of times per day in downtown Seattle, causing congestion, hurting transit reliability, and making our streets dangerous for vulnerable road users. This legislation will help us move people through our downtown core by allowing cameras to detect drivers in intersections, crosswalks, transit-only lanes, or restricted lanes so that traffic can flow more efficiently and get you where you need to go! If you want to know more about why this legislation is important, take a look at this video from Rooted in Rights.

Meeting Rescheduled: Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool Renovation


The Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool is one of the oldest community centers in our city. In order to extend its usable life, the center and pool are scheduled for renovations between May and October 2020. This project will replace the boilers and air handling system, install pool pump improvements, make electrical repairs, level the gym floor, and more. The work is necessary to extend the life of the building another ten years while Seattle Parks and Recreation design a new facility. The first outreach meeting for the project has been rescheduled to April 15th at the Green Lake Community Center and will focus on site options for the new center. More information from the Department of Parks and Recreation can be found here.

Please never hesitate to reach out to me or my team. We are here to serve you. Best,


Councilmember Dan Strauss
Seattle City Council // District 6


Walking Tour: Green Lake / Community Council Meetings / Office Hours / Testifying in Olympia / Supporting the Ballard P-Patch / Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool Renovation / Your Voice, Your Choice / Jacob A. Riis at the Nordic Museum

March 3rd, 2020

We just wrapped up week eight of my time serving you on the City Council. My team has hit the ground running, attending events and meetings across the district, and preparing to introduce my first legislation.

In these eight weeks we have held 26 in-district constituent meetings, attended 9 community group meetings, met with 24 small businesses, helped 38 residents resolve issues with the City, and spoke with countless community members.


Black History Month

February was Black History Month! It was an honor to take a moment and celebrate the years of public service by our honorees Reverend Harriett Walden, City of Seattle’s own Mary Flowers, and of course our prominent black elected leaders Council President Bruce Harrell and King County Council Member Larry Gossett in council chambers last week. Their tireless work has helped Seattle get to where it is, and I commit to continuing the work of making our institutions reflect and serve all our Seattle residents equally.


In the District

Walking Tour: Green Lake

We regularly walk and talk with business owners and community members in different neighborhoods across the district. So far we have visited Ballard and Phinneywood. Most recently we were in the Green Lake neighborhood. Next we will be in Fremont and Upper Fremont, Phinney Ridge, and Crown Hill.

At Spud’s Fish and Chips, owners Pam and Craig shared the incredible opportunity they have to preserve their legacy business while adding affordable housing to the neighborhood. Spud’s has deep roots in the community and has built strong relationships with their neighbors and regular customers. Their story should be a model for how we can grow gracefully, welcoming new neighbors while still preserving the historic community spaces that make our neighborhoods unique.

Tacos Guaymas has amazing tacos, and should be high on your list the next time you pass by. Victor, who owns the restaurant, talked with me about the challenges he faces as a restaurant owner, including the fact that he has to pay for an annual sidewalk-cafe permit in order to let diners eat outside. Outdoor seating activates his storefront and makes the neighborhood more vibrant for all of us.

Leslie’s largest concern is an intersection outside her business which is not working as intended. A new four-way stop was created, and most drivers do not fully stop – posing a danger to pedestrians and drivers. As well, gaps were left between the street and new curb cuts. This is the type of issue I want to know about because we shouldn’t wait for someone to get hurt to create the needed solutions.

I also spoke with Marty, the manager of Gregg’s Greenlake Cycle. As an avid cyclist, who often bikes to work from the Eastside, Marty expressed that bicycle safety is important to him and to his customers to make sure that they feel comfortable getting around by bike. Marty keeps a framed Greg LeMond jersey in his office, which is a really big deal for cycling fans. LeMond won the 1989 Tour de France by eight seconds before doping was prevalent. Read more about LeMond’s legacy here.

Meeting face-to-face is vital to understanding the issues affecting people and businesses in our district. That’s why it is so important to me to be out talking to my neighbors in every corner of District 6. This is one of the best ways for me to ensure that I am advocating as well as I can for all of our needs.

Our fourth walking tour will be in Fremont this week. If you would like us to visit your business or favorite neighborhood spot, please reach out to Peter in my office at Peter.Nguyen@seattle.gov.

Community Council Meetings

My staff and I have been attending community council meetings throughout the district to hear about the issues directly impacting individual neighborhoods. I attended the Fremont Neighborhood Community Council meeting last Monday, the East Ballard Community Association before that, and heard about issues ranging from the need to strengthen protections for trees, to the desire to build more affordable housing in our neighborhoods. My staff also attended this month’s Ballard District Council meeting.

Office Hours

We host district office hours every week. Recently, we’ve heard from constituents regarding homelessness, public safety, and housing affordability. I will continue to meet you in the District, because you shouldn’t have to go downtown to have your voice heard. We are in the District Office throughout the week and always on Thursdays from 3:30-6:30 p.m. We will also periodically host office hours on Saturday.

We will have district office hours on Saturday, March 14th. If you would like to meet with me or staff during this time please sign up online here. Please note: In order to respect constituents’ time, everyone requesting a meeting during office hours will need to schedule ahead of time.

Testifying in Olympia

Last Saturday, I testified in support of the Block the Box legislation in Olympia. Blocking the Box violations occur hundreds of times per day in downtown Seattle, causing congestion, hurting transit reliability, and making our streets dangerous for vulnerable road users. This legislation will help us move people through our downtown core by automating enforcement in order to reduce the number of violations by as much as 80%. Watch this video from Rooted in Rights that powerfully illustrates the problem.

I am dedicated to ensuring our transit-only lanes work effectively with enforcement that doesn’t require SPD to use officer hours. You should be able to catch your bus and get where you’re going without getting stuck in traffic. This legislation is critical to making this a reality and I was honored to have the opportunity to testify along with Chief Scoggins of our Fire Department and Captain O’Donnell of our Police Department.


District 6 Issues

Supporting the Ballard P-Patch

The Ballard P-Patch is an important asset in our community, serving as much-needed open-space and as a vital resource in addressing food insecurity in North Seattle. The P-Patch dedicates 1,200 square feet of space to food access efforts, and donates more than 2,500 pounds of food annually to the Ballard Food Bank and Phinney Neighborhood Association’s Hot Meals program.

This week, my office spearheaded a letter in support of the Ballard P-Patch’s application for a Conservation Futures Tax grant to help purchase and preserve their land in Northwest Seattle. The letter was signed by every Councilmember and the Department of Neighborhoods. We coordinated the 36th District legislators also signing and sending a letter in support. We are happy to be supporting such a great cause to ensure this P-Patch keeps its home.

Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool Renovation

The Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool is one of the oldest community centers in our city. In order to extend its usable life, the center and pool are scheduled for renovations between May and October 2020. This project will replace the boilers and air handling system, install pool pump improvements, make electrical repairs, level the gym floor, and more. The work is necessary to extend the life of the building another ten years while Seattle Parks and Recreation designs a new facility. The pool and center will remain open until May.

The first outreach meeting for the project is scheduled March 25th at the Green Lake Community Center and will focus on site options for the new center.

More information from the Department of Parks and Recreaction can be found here.

Your Voice, Your Choice

Every year the Your Voice, Your Choice: Parks & Streets initiative seeks projects for small-scale park and street improvements. The program is currently collecting ideas for projects to be funded in 2020. Proposals are reviewed by a team of community members who narrow the list to 8-10 projects per district. Community members will vote for their favorite projects during the summer, with the selected projects receiving a share of $2 million in funding.

Last year’s District 6 project winners included traffic calming on Ashworth Avenue North in Green Lake, crossing Improvements at 15th Ave. NW and NW Market St. in Ballard and Crossing Improvements on N39th St. and Phinney Ave. N in Fremont.

Project collection ends March 18th so if you have an project in mind don’t delay getting in an application!

Jacob A. Riis at the Nordic Museum

Through March 15th the Nordic Museum is hosting “How the Other Half Lives,” an exhibit featuring the work of Jacob Riis, a newspaper reporter and social reformer who used photographs to illustrate the plight of impoverished residents of New York. The exhibit includes photographs, handwritten journals, and personal correspondence. The messages Riis’ work conveys are powerful and the call for social justice work that they elicit continues to be relevant today.

Take the time to experience this exhibit for yourself before it’s gone!

Please never hesitate to reach out to me or my team – we are here to serve you.

Best,


Walking Tour of PhinneyWood / Tree Protection Ordinance Update / In-District Office Hours / Neighborhood Street Fund / International Clash Day

February 11th, 2020

It has been a very full first month as your District 6 representative. I have spent considerable time throughout the District, attending community meetings, participating in walking tours of Phinneywood and Ballard and going on a ride-along with Seattle Police Department’s North Precinct Officers.

I also began my tenure as one of Seattle’s representatives on the Association of Washington Cities Board of Directors. I will advocate for Seattle and District 6 by building partnerships with cities throughout the State so we can properly tackle some of our most serious problems with our regional partners. Issues such as homelessness, criminal justice, the climate crisis and more are not just Seattle problems, these issues need our collective effort to create real results.

It was a great first month and I look forward to the months ahead tackling important issues for our community. Read on to learn about what’s going on in my committee, District 6, and city wide.


Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee Highlights

Our first meeting of the Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee will be on February 12th.  At this meeting we will receive a report by the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections on an update to the Tree Protection Ordinance.

One of my top priorities as your City Councilmember is to strengthen our Tree Protection Ordinance. Trees are a vital part of our urban ecosystem, cooling our city, and cleaning our air. As our neighborhoods grow and change, we must preserve the tree canopy and plant new trees where they are needed. I am looking forward to working with the Mayor and my colleagues on the City Council to address this issue.


In the District

Seattle Police Department Roll Call and Ride-Along

I joined the North Precinct’s Second Watch roll call last Friday and accompanied Officer Sergio Garcia for a full day ride-along throughout District 6. Neighborhood safety is an issue I’ve heard repeatedly from constituents. Everyone deserves to live in a safe and healthy community, and I am thankful for all the work our Police Officers do to protect our community.

This was my second ride-along in the last six months and I have found that officers are primarily responding to social service and behavioral health calls. There is a better and higher use of our officer’s time: investigating and following up on criminal behavior. The result from not providing our officers with the resources they need to address social issues, is that the individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis do not receive the prevention, care, or treatment they need. Our neighborhoods need more programs and services like Health One which responds to individuals with low acute behavioral health needs. I will be working with the Mayor and my council colleagues to expand the availability of those services throughout District 6. Ultimately, we need a centralized emergency crisis line similar to “311” for our city to respond to people in crisis with the resources they need.

Office Hours

We host district office hours every week. We heard from constituents regarding tree protections, homelessness, and ways to support local small businesses. I will continue to meet you in the District so you don’t have to go downtown to have your voice heard. We are in the District Office throughout the week and always on Thursdays from 3:30-6:30 p.m.; if you would like to meet with me or staff during this time please sign up online here. Please note: In order to respect constituents’ time, everyone requesting a meeting during office hours will need to schedule ahead of time.

Walking Tour: PhinneyWood

Even having grown up in northwest Seattle, it’s not clear to me where Phinney Ridge ends and Greenwood begins, which is how we get our beloved Phinneywood.

Last Wednesday, I had my second small-business walking tour. We walked and talked in the PhinneyWood neighborhood, visiting with business owners, workers, and community members to discuss the issues impacting them most. We heard about issues of needing more trash cans and patching potholes, how to respond to people in crisis, and how to balance growth with neighborhood character.

No matter how large or small your issue is, please reach out to us to help you get the solutions you need.

Thank you everyone who took time to share their stories and perspectives with me. We live in such an incredible part of the City, and I am thankful to be able to take the time to meet you on your block, in your store, and in your neighborhood. As one community member put it, “the best days are the days I don’t leave PhinneyWood.” Which I think is sentiment we can all appreciate in D6.

It is important to me to be out in the district talking to neighbors and seeing what they are confronting daily to be able to best advocate for their needs. Our next walking tours will be visiting Fremont and Green Lake. If you would like us to visit your business or favorite neighborhood spot, please reach out to Noah in my office at Noah.An@seattle.gov

Ballard Alliance January Luncheon

On January 15, I attended and spoke at the Ballard Alliance Luncheon at Ray’s Boathouse.  We started off the discussion with a review of how the local area has developed and transformed over the decades before transitioning to topics of current interest, including land use and neighborhoods, reliable public transportation, affordable housing, a regional approach to homelessness, the Seattle Police Department’s Community Service Officer program launch, and upcoming public works projects such as the SPU mega project, status of the Ballard Bridge, and repairing Market Street.  One of my priorities is to support small businesses in Seattle, and it was great to interact with business owners in our community.

Addressing the Climate Crisis

I attended two great environmental events last week. On Monday I met with members of the 43rd district Enviro Caucus, which focused on how the city can respond to the climate crisis today. On Tuesday I joined the “Urgency of Now Seattle Jewish Climate Festival” as part of the Tu bsvat holiday which is similar to the Jewish Arbor day where we discussed how the Jewish community can respond to the climate crisis. I am inspired by the both night’s conversations and will put every piece of legislation through a climate crisis lens. In the following months I will be pushing for bus only lanes which will reduce pollution while streamlining commute times.

And More!

You may have also seen my staff at community meetings and events these past few weeks, including attending the Phinney Ridge Community Council, Groundswell NW, and the North Precinct Advisory Council.


District 6 Issues

Neighborhood Street Fund

Northwest Seattle is getting a new crosswalk and pedestrian safety improvements at 15th Ave NW and NW 83rd St thanks to the Neighborhood Street Fund! Design work will begin this year, with construction in 2021. This was one of 15 projects across the city chosen to receive funding. More about the project can be found here.

Want to secure funding for a street improvement in your neighborhood? The next Neighborhood Street Fund application period will open in late 2020 or early 2021. More information can be found here.

Ballard-Interbay Regional Transportation Study

The Seattle Department of Transportation kicked off their public briefings on the Ballard-Interbay Regional Transportation System Study, which will evaluate how to improve mobility through the Ballard-Interbay corridor and identify funding options to replace the Ballard bridge. I was proud to work with former Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, as well as our delegation to the Washington State Legislature, to secure $700,000 in funding for this study. My staff joined the briefing in Ballard on January 28th at the Ballard Branch Library.

A final report is expected in November that will recommend transportation improvements to the Ballard and Interbay neighborhoods, including funding sources to replace the Ballard Bridge. You can learn more about the study, or sign up to receive updates, here.

Nordic Museum Receives 2020 Buildy Award

Congratulations to our National Nordic Museum for receiving a 2020 Buildy Award from the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums! The National Nordic Museum received this award for outstanding design and planning, incorporating neighborhood input from cultural organizations, educational institutions, business owners and local government officials to orient plans for the future. The National Nordic Museum remains the only Museum in the US that collects, preserves, and displays material artifacts from each of the five Nordic countries and incorporates Nordic sensibility into every aspect of design and employs a fjord motif that the Buildy Award Committee noted serves as a clear and concise organizational element and supports the whole storyline of the museum. We are lucky to have such a well-designed and nationally recognized museum in our district.


Citywide Issues

Seattle Promise

The Seattle Promise scholarship program application deadline is February 15, 2020.The Seattle Promise brings college education to every Seattle student by offering a scholarship for the first two years of tuition to a Seattle College as well as additional financial support for books, transportation and housing to those in financial need.  All Seattle public high school students in the 2020 graduating class are eligible.

Please submit your admissions application to North Seattle College, Seattle Central college, or South Seattle College. Learn more about the Seattle Promise and how to apply here

Fentanyl and Opioid Awareness

On January 30th I joined Mayor Durkan, community members and the parents of Gabe Lilienthal, a Ballard teen who died after unknowingly ingesting a fentanyl laced counterfeit prescription pill in September, to announce the city’s effort to raise awareness regarding fentanyl and counterfeit pills. Opioid addiction is a disease many in our community face. The spread of fentanyl and counterfeit oxycodone pills poses a large threat that we must address with the expansion of substance misuse, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation resources. If this can happen to a ‘straight A’ student, it can happen to anyone and any family. We must turn Gabe’s tragedy into triumph, for his family and our community.

To address the crisis, the City is partnering with community-based organizations to convene a series of 25 Naloxone trainings to distribute 700 Naloxone kits. Naloxone is a drug which can reverse an opioid-related overdose. Ensuring that our community members far and wide have access to and are trained in the usage of Naloxone, will save lives.

International Clash Day

Last week we celebrated International Clash Day! I joined John Richards on KEXP’s Morning Show today to discuss what our City can do to address the climate crisis.

International Clash Day began through the efforts of Seattle’s Community minded, nonprofit radio station KEXP to celebrate the enduring influence of their music and human rights message. Throughout their career, The Clash band members, Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Topper Headon, used the power of music to share messages of peace, unity, anti-imperialism, anti-racism, poverty awareness and freedom of expression.

KEXP has designated this year’s celebration as Clash for Climate, celebrating artists around the world who are confronting the climate crisis as well as highlighting activists, public servants, and organizations who are working toward solutions for our planet’s dire situation.To learn more check out KEXP’s website.

Please never hesitate to reach out to me or my team – we are hear to serve you.

Best,


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