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admin 16.10.2015

Seattle voters will soon have an exciting opportunity to consider a ballot measure asking whether we will support a regional light rail system, including a light rail line connecting Downtown to Ballard, with stops at South Lake Union, Seattle Center, and Interbay. The communities in my Northwest Seattle district are deeply invested in shaping this plan, and have begun to speak with a united voice about how this plan can best serve our neighborhoods. The Coalition is advocating for an alignment I affectionately call the “West is Best” option. I have voiced my support for the “West is Best” option, and the coalition of voices continues to grow. No Major Event at the arena can overlap with Major Events at each of the two other stadia if the combined anticipated attendance at all venues would exceed 45,000 on a Weekday or 55,0000 on a Weekend. For NBA regular season games, the Arena will make its best efforts to work with the NBA to avoid overlapping with Mariners and Sounders home games or other Major Events at CenturyLink Field.
Major Events other than NBA games at the Arena cannot be scheduled to overlap with a Major Event at either of the stadia if the combined anticipated attendance at the two events would exceed 45,000 on a Weekday or 55,0000 on a Weekend. For events that occur on the same day but do not overlap, there will be at least 3 hours between the projected end time of the first event and scheduled start of the second event. The negotiated scheduling language will be offered as an amendment to the conditions of the street vacation requested by ArenaCo. Tucked behind the Chelan Cafe, Terminal 5 (T5) has sat empty since late 2014 when the Port Commission authorized $4.7 million for modernization of the terminal.
While attending the Delridge District Council meeting last Wednesday I presented to the Port representative in attendance a letter supporting the concerns that I am hearing from constituents about the T5 project. I have been working with the Office of Labor Standards (OLS) on the process and implementation of directed investigations for enforcement of our labor laws. Businesses that do not adhere to these laws have an unfair advantage over businesses that do. I am trying to leave no stone unturned when it comes to addressing the affordable housing crisis that is displacing many long-time Seattle residents and disrupting our communities.
I responded to the February call to action by writing on op-ed in the Seattle Times on “Wall Street’s Impact on Seattle’s Housing Affordability.” Councilmembers then sent a letter that I drafted to HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Federal Housing Finance Agency asking Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac help delinquent homeowners receive mortgage principal reduction and stop selling mortgages to Wall Street at a discount. In response to this collective national effort on April 14, FHFA announced that it will newly offer principal reduction to certain seriously delinquent, underwater borrowers who are still struggling in the aftermath of the financial crisis to help them avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes. Mel Watt, has offered his staff to meet with City representatives, along with nonprofits and other community buyers to discuss the Enterprises’ NPL sales.
Please arrive at Union Station (at 401 S Jackson St, Seattle, WA 98104) at 1:30pm to sign up and testify with me. If you can’t attend, but you want your voice voice to be heard please send in your survey and write a letter to Sound Transit. If we are going to see some an amendment to the Draft ST3 Plan we need you to write in and tell the Sound Transit leadership that we need a commitment to build the 130th Street Station!
I am not sitting around hoping there will be a change, I am out here pushing every button and looking for all the possible ways to get North Seattle what it needs. I want to thank the North District Council, Lake City Neighborhood Alliance, Olympic Hill Neighborhood Council, Pinehurst Community Council, 46th State Legislative delegation and all the individual neighbors that have sent in their survey and are sending in letters to Sound Transit. Please consider attending the next Sound Transit Board meeting on April 28th at 2pm to testify in person about the importance of Sound Transit making a commitment to build the 130th Street Station. Write in as an individual, as a representative of your community council, as a business representative, as a person who uses public transit or as a person wants to! Not only will this station serve the immediate surrounding communities, like Pinehurst and Haller Lake, it will also act as the focal point of a powerful East-West connection, working in concert with buses to provide light rail service to Bitter Lake and Lake City, the fastest growing Urban Villages in North Seattle.
Station Spacing – Best practice for high capacity rail lines in other cities have stations averaging every 0.4 mile. Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative – Bitter Lake Hub Urban Village and Lake City Hub Urban Village are the fastest growing urban villages in North Seattle while remaining some of the most affordable places to live in Seattle. Based on Seattle’s 2035 Growth Analysis, the Bitter Lake Hub Urban Village has new growth capacity of over 10,000 residential units and nearly 20,000 jobs. As you may have heard, last Saturday afternoon a young man, believed to be using methamphetamine, smashed a window of La Isla Restaurant in Ballard and proceeded to use a shard of glass to attack and injure two people on the sidewalk outside.
When thinking about safe environments generally, I am also focused on how we prevent instances like this from happening in the first place. I remain committed to implementing successful programs such as the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program, an effort that has been proven to be more effective in moving people living in crisis to more stable situations. I will continue to encourage safer environments in District 6, our communities, and our city. Cheers to New Horizons in Belltown and the young people who are learning employment soft skills as well as techniques to make a great cup of coffee. Specifically, one woman (for this purpose, I will call her Kate) truly took my breath away as she described her journey from homeless, to living in a shelter, to living in transitional housing, to being fully stable in her own affordable apartment in Belltown.
Kate discussed with me the importance of services that many of us take for granted, such as medical care, dental health, and shelter. We will schedule office hours across District 7 reaching constituents in South Lake Union, Pioneer Square, Queen Anne, Magnolia, Uptown, and Downtown. Today’s Vote: Update on Preservation, The Missing Piece of our Affordable Housing Strategy. The Council voted this morning in the 2016 Housing Levy Select Committee to pass the amendments supporting the new housing preservation program first proposed by myself and then supported and developed with the help of Councilmember Mike O’Brien and his staff.
I have an editorial in this week’s Real Change explaining why a truly comprehensive affordable housing strategy must include new programs to preserve existing affordable housing.  You may recall, in early April, I told you how, in the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods, and Finance Committee, I presented a “proof of concept” preservation funding strategy as identified by HALA to use the City’s bonding authority to issue a housing bond and reinstate the growth fund. Preserving buildings for long-term affordable rental housing or converted to permanently affordable homeownership units. Targeting buildings with units affordable at or below 80% of area median income (AMI), with a focus on serving households at or below 60% of AMI. As you may have seen, there is a developing story in Tacoma where lead has been found in the water of four houses. I have asked that at Monday morning’s Council Briefing SPU give the Council a full update on the testing and our water quality. Last week WSDOT announced they will close the Alaskan Way Viaduct for an estimated two weeks beginning Friday, April 29, for tunnel boring beneath the structure. WSDOT has a Viaduct Closure information page with links, twitter feeds, an overview about the closure, travel alternatives, and overview of coordination with SDOT and KC Metro, and an FAQ. For District 1 residents, page 2 of this KC Metro bus detour map has information about where through SODO the 21E, 37, 55, 56, 120, 125, and C Line will travel. The King County Water Taxi at Seacrest Park is another option: 160 parking spaces will be available at SW Bronson Way and Harbor Ave SW, and 200+ at Pier 2. In response to concerns I heard about the Fauntleroy Expressway closure for the bearing-pad re-replacement project beginning on April 27 and the cumulative impact of both closures on West Seattle, I requested that that SDOT consider holding off until after the AWV closure is complete. Sound Transit’s schedule for implementation calls for building the West Seattle line in 2033.
The City Council is planning to pass a resolution in May with Seattle’s position, in anticipation of a Sound Transit board vote in June, and a November ballot measure.  I’d like to see a fully unified City position that avoids pitting one neighborhood against another. The Council will soon send letter with questions to Sound Transit; I’m requesting information about whether tunneling was considered for the portion of the alignment from the bridge to the Junction, and the rationale for eliminating the Delridge option listed as a Candidate Project in December 2015.
The Draft Plan also includes light rail from Ballard to Downtown, which includes a second subway tunnel through Downtown Seattle; a station at Graham Street on the current line (for the Move Seattle levy included $10 million) a provisional station at NE 130th, and a host of regional projects. The Draft Plan also includes early deliverables to C and D lines, to be carried out in coordination with King County Metro. In addition, King County Metro will also be seeking feedback at the meetings on its Long Range Plan. In last week’s blog post I went over the background on the Council’s budget actions for 2016 to add $500,000 for West Seattle Bridge Corridor congestion management investments, and $100,000 for corridor feasibility studies. SDOT notes they are concentrating on the 13 projects located in the corridor from the West Seattle Bridge, Spokane Street Viaduct, and associated lower roadway section of Spokane Street between 35th Ave SW and I-5 (see map).
The Council’s Seattle Housing Levy Select Committee unanimously (8-0) voted to dedicate up to $30,000,000 for affordable housing preservation in an effort to prevent further displacement of low-income communities.
Preserved buildings can be used as long-term affordable rental housing or converted to permanently affordable homeownership units.
Full Council is scheduled to vote on the full Housing Levy proposal Monday, May 2 at 2 p.m. The City Council’s Transportation Committee voted 4-1 (O’Brien, Johnson, Harrell and myself voting “yes,” Bagshaw voting “no”) this week on whether or not to approve a conditional street vacation on Occidental Ave S in SODO. This street vacation has been sought as part of a proposal to build an arena for basketball and hockey teams.
Before getting to the specifics of the street vacation decision, I want to first talk about the larger context of the arena project. At the time, the renegotiated agreement was hailed as one of the most favorable arena deals for a city in the country.


The land-use zoning on the site of the proposed arena currently allows for spectator sports facilities like what’s being proposed. Here is another map that shows the locations of street or alley vacations requested by the Port of Seattle or granted on land now owned by the Port of Seattle; there are 32 of these street vacations. As the Council has reviewed this street vacation, I have come to the conclusion that the mitigating conditions proposed and the public benefits provided are appropriate and sufficient. I recognize the time and money that has gone into this street vacation proposal and I very much appreciate my council colleagues and applaud our sport fans and supporters who have come to dozens of meetings and events since 2012, making their wishes and recommendations known loud and clear. I concur with all the fans that it would be tremendous if the NBA returned to the area, but there is absolutely no evidence that the NBA Commissioner will allow the SuperSonics to return to Seattle within the next several years. Speaking with reporters April 24, 2015 at the Associated Press Sports Editors commissioners meetings in New York, Adam Silver, the NBA Commissioner, said NBA expansion would dilute the talent in the league — something none of the owners want. Adam Silver, March 11, 2016 said: “We had great teams in Seattle, a great history of basketball there.
Beyond the fact that we don’t have a team, traffic problems are real on 1st Avenue and 4th Avenue now through Downtown and in SODO. Under the terms of the proposed street vacation, we councilmembers are being asked to give away a 65’ wide street forever. In SODO we have family wage jobs in maritime industries and aerospace; we have infrastructure that has taken 100 years and billions of dollars to build. Under the current vacation proposal, we have not addressed the functional replacement of Occidental.
Traffic is a serious problem for people who live and work in SODO, West Seattle and anyone who wants to come in or leave Downtown. YES, I want NBA to return here, and YES, it may be appropriate for a deal to include public funding, if the terms are right. There’s no legal obligation for the city to give up a street under this proposal at this time, and we are putting a lot at risk for an NBA team that doesn’t even exist. The Council and the Mayor should consider benefits for our city and region, not just what’s best for one man and a hoped-for basketball team. We MUST consider all factors – traffic mitigation, our blue color jobs, the Port, real public benefit, and functional road replacement. Friday night basketball games, high school proms, college applications, Monday morning math tests, and drama performances–these should be the biggest worries for youth and young adults in King County, not where they are going to sleep tonight. During this year’s annual effort to count youth and young adults ages 12-25 who are unstably housed, volunteers counted 131 completely unsheltered and 215 living in a homeless shelter. Here’s where New Horizons comes in.   Like Youth Care and Peace for the Streets by Kids on the Streets, they are using compassion and best practices to reach young people. This past week Alyson McLean, my Legislative Aide and I met with Mark Reynoso and Mary Steele of New Horizons. New Horizons offers a myriad of support services to young adults ages 18-24 including apprenticeship training at their cafe and roasting facility called Street Bean. The Nest Transitional Shelter:  Provides space for 12 youth to temporarily reside 7 days a week while they search for permanent shelter. Evening Drop-In: Provides access to meals, showers, laundry, clothing, and sign-ups for case management and shelter to an average of 40 young adults per night. Apprenticeship Training: Provides youth with apprenticeship jobs, which teach lifelong skills including responsibility, communications and conflict resolution. Beyond providing shelter and food, New Horizons offers individual support and treats each young person with deep respect and care. I asked a number of the youth at New Horizons if someone could say or do something that would make a difference for them, what would that be?  Their answer:  talk to them.
Do you have an aging-but-working cell phone with a charger?  Young people need to stay connected for housing, medical treatments and job opportunities.
Want to put your cooking skills to good use?  Would you cook breakfast once a month and smile at those who need a hot breakfast? Are you an employer willing to give a kid a chance?  Check out other volunteer opportunities on their website here.
Those of us who live and work Downtown know the MID Ambassadors – the 90 women and men who wear bright yellow jackets — who help us clean our sidewalk and remove graffiti. Jackie, Judy, and I walked from their office through Westlake Park, along Third Avenue, to Pike Place Market and Steinbrueck Park, and to Western Avenue. Judy, the longest serving member of the Outreach Team and a compassionate advocate for her clients, offers a Mental Health First Aid class – a great addition to Basic First Aid.
I’m grateful to have spent my morning with MID’s Outreach Team, witnessing compassion and problem-solving in action in my neighborhood.
WSDOT announced this afternoon that they will be closing the Alaskan Way Viaduct beginning on April 29, two weeks from now, while the tunnel boring machine tunnels beneath the structure. I’m glad to see City government is unified in prioritizing funding for this project.  The letter also notes business, maritime, and environmental groups that support the letter. Funding for the Lander Street overpass was listed in the 2006 resolution setting funding priorities for the  Bridging the Gap program; $80 million was reserved for the Lander Street overpass, the Spokane Street Viaduct, and the Mercer Project. The most recent openings of the Capitol Hill and University District light rail stations have brought Seattle into the 21st century of transit, and the coming wave of transit investments contained in Sound Transit’s next package, known as ST3, will revolutionize how we live and get around our region (see the full draft package here).
The Northwest Seattle Coalition for Sound Transit 3 formed not months ago, and is composed of community leaders and more than a dozen organizations from Ballard, Interbay, Magnolia, Queen Anne, and Uptown.
This proposal would run light rail parallel to 15th Avenue West (the equivalent of four blocks to the west) and cross the ship canal via a tunnel. The expected ridership in the Downtown-Ballard corridor is projected to be roughly 140,000, the highest of any sub-area in the entire Sound Transit region. Before the Sound Transit Board closes the public outreach period today, let’s ensure they’ve heard our voices.
At the Council’s request, the parties came together to draft the mutually agreeable language regarding scheduling and access. If there are unavoidable overlaps, the NBA game will start at least one hour after the other event. The first would require an access easement on the proposed arena site’s east access road for the benefit of the other two facilities. Directed Investigations are investigations that are initiated by the Director of the OLS without a worker introducing a complaint.
Directed investigations are important because our laws are only as strong as our enforcement and ensuring that all employers adhere to our laws is not only good for workers, but also for business. FHFA expects that approximately 33,000 borrowers nationwide will be eligible for a Principal Reduction Modification.  Servicers must solicit borrowers eligible for a Principal Reduction Modification no later than October 15, 2016. These office hours are walk-in friendly, but if you would like to let me know you’re coming, please email my scheduler Alex Clardy. I will be attending the Sound Transit Board meeting to provide public comment tomorrow and I want you to join me! The deadline is Friday April 29th. See our recent blog post for instructions and a template letter to get your message in! I met with Sound Transit Board Members, Sound Transit Director Peter Rogoff, other Seattle City Councilmembers, King County Councilmembers, our Legislative delegation in the 46th District, the Federal Transportation Administration WA liaison and even Senator Patty Murray’s Office.
The meeting will be held at the Union Station building at 401 S Jackson St, Seattle, WA 98104. North Seattle’s solution to light rail should not be to walk or drive to Shoreline’s station. North of the ship canal we will be looking at an average of 2 mile spacing getting as high as 2.5 miles between the Northgate and 145th stations. Lake City Hub Urban Village has new growth capacity of 4,000 residential units and 5,000 jobs. I want to acknowledge and thank the first responders who effectively and efficiently addressed this situation.
As this work continues, I am engaging my staff in many different resources to help alleviate the public safety concerns in District 6. LEAD is a program that connects people who commit low-level drug and sex work activities to services instead of arrests.
My staff will also continue their role in engaging with constituents to meet the community needs of public safety. I was pleased to hear from community members on topics ranging from housing, transit, HALA, recreational marijuana licenses and homelessness. Kate wanted to talk with us about her experiences being homeless and described her struggles and successes. I applaud the great work done by community leaders to create an Art and Culture Overlay District. Out of an abundance of caution Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) will be testing the water quality across our system.


During the closure WSDOT expects congestion to begin earlier and end later, and encourages flexibility and traveling at non-peak times if possible. For shuttle Route 773 from the West Seattle Junction to the dock at Seacrest Park, you can view the map and schedule; for Route 775 from Alki to Seacrest Park you can view the map and schedule. SDOT requested a delay in reporting to May 31, and I asked for an update by April 15 on progress made to date, and next steps.
In addition to the $55 million application described in last week’s blog post, SDOT has applied for grants for $8 million from the Washington State Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board, and $14 million from the Puget Sound Regional Council. These hours will be slightly different than usual – I will be at the South Park Community Center (8319 8th Avenue S) from 11am to 5pm.
The $30 million amendment, sponsored by Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Mike O’Brien, will be used for a new program intended to preserve existing affordable multi-family subsidized and market-rate rental buildings.  The funds will be included as part of an August Housing Levy ballot measure if the Full Council chooses to send it to voters on Monday, May 2. In an effort to retain currently existing communities, the program will prioritize areas at high risk of displacement. A street vacation is a formal process where the City Council decides whether or not to grant public right-of-way in exchange for fair market value and other public benefits. After proposing several amendments to strengthen the conditions of the vacation, I voted to approve the vacation. The agreement also includes a list of prerequisites that must be met before the public financing dollars become available. Here is a map that shows all the street vacations in the SODO area over the years: there are dozens of them all over SODO. My point in sharing these maps is to demonstrate that the City has not been shy about using the street vacation process to support the Port and the maritime-industrial community. To do this, we look at three components: the impact on the right-of-way and any necessary mitigation, land use impacts, and the public benefit to be provided.
In fact, there is ample evidence to the contrary; that no team is for sale and expansions aren’t under consideration. We have made other property owners do this work when petitioning for a street vacation – why are we shrugging our shoulders on this one? We toured New Horizons and visited with the young adults who call New Horizon’s expanded space on 3rd and Clay their temporary home in Belltown. They also host Street Bean Coffee, a cafe employing apprentices to receive barista training. MID also provides outreach services to people who are homeless, connecting them with appropriate housing and services, and helping them move up and on from the streets. He’s a licensed mental health professional and a talented communicator with the ability to connect with people experiencing homelessness: encouraging them to talk, evaluating their needs, and offering them action steps toward appropriate care. We stopped to talk with the Park Rangers at Westlake Park, and engaged nearly everyone who was sitting or lying on the sidewalk that morning. In a conversation with four guys at Pike Place Market, Jackie connected with each person, discussed his needs, and made some important recommendations, all within nine minutes. Afterwards, in 2008, SDOT and the Mayor recommended focusing the city funding on Mercer and Spokane, and the Council agreed. This plan will ensure speed and reliability, preserve the existing lanes on 15th, and create an underground station in Ballard that would be the best option for future northern and eastern expansion. We have been meeting with community groups representing Haller Lake, Lake City, Pinehurst and Broadview.
We appreciate that the Sound Transit draft plan has included the recognition that the 130th Street Station could serve thousands of people. The 130th Street Station is a common sense move for the Sound Transit Board as it requires no extra track and no new tunnel; we just need a platform for a stop.
This station could prove to be the most accessible via bike above both Northgate and 145th street stations.
These growth numbers will only be attainable and successful with access to reliable transit like light rail. Much of this work comes from direct correspondence with constituents where my office has advised Multidisciplinary Outreach Teams (MDOT) to specific areas where activity is concentrated. It has reduced criminal-recidivism rates by up to 60 percent and currently exists downtown and in select nearby neighborhoods. Supporting public safety and increasing connections for people and our communities is a collective action and I look forward to doing that work with each of you. Each person brought a unique perspective, and I truly appreciate the opportunity to speak informally and in depth about their issues. We negotiated significant concessions from ArenaCo, including more financial security for the City and King County and a $40 million transportation fund for the SODO area. One of the most important and most challenging of these is the awarding of an NBA franchise to Seattle. But, the vacation the Council is considering would only be available if the arena project is built as described.
Hansen would pay fair market value for the land, estimated to be approximately $18 million to $20 million. The issue for the NBA, right now, is that every team in essence can have a global following.
It will only get worse if this new arena is sited there without functional replacement of transportation space on Occidental Way. But before we agree to vacate Occidental, let’s consider what’s best for our city and taxpayers. Make sure to support Street Bean Coffee and the apprenticeship programs by picking up a delicious cup of coffee at their shop on 3rd and Cedar.
Judy provided some food and Jackie gave his new clients a business card and put the ball solidly back into each of their courts – he urged each man to come see him later that day where they’d talk more. I’m planning to attend her next class in May.  If you are interested, please let me know and we can go together. In addition, the letter underscores the need to implement a quiet zone for trains and utilize broadband back-up alarms to help with noise reduction. We currently have four labor laws: Paid Sick and Safe Time, Fair Chance Employment, Wage Theft, and Minimum Wage. However, the current “provisional” designation for the 130th Street Station, with zero dedicated funding and no timeline, is unacceptable.
These estimations don’t even touch the untapped capacity that could be attained with a transit oriented development (TOD) plan directly around the station area. My Office continues to engage with outreach workers and police officers to best address the community concerns. I would also like to support additional outreach workers through MDOT so that we can connect people to services instead of further isolating them. She gave me a list of programs that worked for her, which didn’t  and what she’d like to add.
The committee adopted my amendment that dedicates this revenue to transportation infrastructure improvements in SODO.
For now, you can visit WSDOT’s Viaduct Closure page, an overview about the closure, traffic control coordinated with KC Metro and SDOT, and travel alternatives during the closure, and the WSDOT presentation before the City Council from April 11.
Our communities deserve infrastructure investments to meet the demands of regional ridership. We have discussed the need for a station at a 130th with major employers like the University of Washington, North Seattle College, Northwest Hospital, Northgate Mall and Thornton Place. We are calling on the Sound Transit Board to make a commitment to build the NE 130th Street Station. I support outreach workers on the street engaging with people who are living in crisis, sometimes because of addiction. Kate’s voice and her experiences painted an important story that complements what we have been hearing: we need aligned services with city-county-state that target the individual.
We should be looking to BENEFIT SODO as a working port, not make it impossible for freight to get around and traffic to get through. These people are on the front line to both engage people suffering from addiction and direct them toward treatment options.
It is a conditional vacation and because of one of my amendments adopted in committee this week it will expire in five years (instead of the seven years originally proposed) if the arena is not built. And through all these meetings I have learned that what is really going to change the course of the ST3 draft plans depends on the demands of the community. To get this draft ready for the ballot we need the 130th Street Station funded, as well as a timeline for station completion.



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