Devastating Roe v. Wade Decision; West Seattle Bridge Update; Seattle Police Department 911 Call Handling Update; Fireworks; Council Begins Considering Park District Funding; Free Activities in South Park Summer of Safety


Devastating Roe v. Wade Decision

This morning’s Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade is devastating to many millions of women and pregnant people who will be unable to access basic healthcare and be forced into decisions that endanger their safety and lives.  Nearly 1 in 4 people who can become pregnant will have an abortion in their lifetime.  Now, for very many, seeking that abortion will be simply out of reach due to the expense, the time off required to travel to a different state, the misinformation, and the fear.

The burden of not having access to comprehensive health services without having to travel to another state, will fall hardest on poor women, girls, and transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) people, especially those who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC).  This decision will result in more poverty, death, and abandoned dreams for those who live in states that outlaw their basic healthcare.  You can learn more about how abortion access is more difficult for some in this blog post from Seattle’s Office for Civil Rights: Abortion access and reproductive justice – Civil Rights Now (seattle.gov).

Since the draft decision was leaked in May, I have been working with Public Health and abortion advocates to understand what action may be needed at the city level in a post-Roe future.  My amendment to Council’s Resolution in support of abortion access called for funding “organizations that deliver programs and services in support of abortion care and access, such as the Northwest Abortion Access Fund and independent abortion clinics.”  I am grateful that Mayor Harrell’s announcement today indicates he included $250,000 in supplemental budget legislation for this purpose, which Councill consider in the next several weeks.  I pledge to keep fighting for greater abortion access in our city.

I pledge to also keep working on supporting the state Keep Our Care Act (SB5688/HB1809), which would prevent health system consolidations from moving forward if they negatively impact communities’ access to affordable quality care, including reproductive, end-of-life, and gender affirming care.  Axios reports that “at least two recent hospital mergers have led to changes in the availability of abortion in Washington.”

I also understand that  I thank her for that leadership and am glad to be collaborating with her.

Abortion remains legal and safe across Washington state. King County welcomes all people who need abortion services, no matter where they live. Many clinics offer abortion services in King County.  Learn more and help spread the word: kingcounty.gov/abortion.

This is an extraordinarily difficult day for many of us.  I take comfort in knowing that we live in a community that is committed to abortion access, although we have not yet reached that goal for all.  I will continue this work.

West Seattle Bridge Update

As I explained last week, the final structural concrete pour is now curing. Curing is a 28-day process. The final structural concrete pour was done on May 26. By my count, yesterday was 28 days from May 26 and thus the curing process should be complete. I am confirming this understanding with SDOT and, at the time of this newsletter, I don’t have a confirmation.

SDOT provided additional details on the steps for the remaining work for completion of bridge repairs.

Some of the work is sequential:

  1. Let the concrete used for the post-tensioning anchors and supports set and cure (in progress)
  2. Install post-tensioning ducts (in progress) (11,000 feet of ducts)
  3. Complete a pre-tensioning round of epoxy injections and carbon-fiber wrapping (in progress)
  4. Install post-tensioning strands (~46 miles of strands)
  5. Tension the strands
  6. Complete a final round of epoxy injections and carbon-fiber wrapping after tensioning is done
  7. Complete cure time for the carbon-fiber wrapping
  8. Remove work platforms
  9. Load test and inspect the repairs
  10. Restore the bridge deck by closing holes in the bridge deck created for access
  11. Demobilize the site, which means crews remove their equipment (like trailers and tools) from the bridge

Other major activities that don’t involve strengthening the bridge are being done at the same time:

  • Sign structure replacement (11 total signs)
  • Bridge deck repair and concrete overlay on the Fauntleroy Expressway (2+ acres of new concrete)
  • Concrete panel replacement on the western approach to the bridge structure (61 panels)
  • Traffic control signs and road striping
  • Illumination and streetlight restoration (14 miles of new wire) in partnership with Seattle City Light

To reduce schedule risk, the project is:

  • Prioritizing and scheduling carbon-fiber wrapping during good weather days and tarping these work areas during bad weather days to allow work to continue
  • Prioritizing contractor work on the high bridge over working on the low bridge
  • Continuing close coordination with our concrete supplier to get remaining pours on their schedule as far out as possible
  • Maintaining and scheduling project personnel to the critical path and time-sensitive work items
  • Continuing to require all staff working on the bridge to follow project COVID-prevention protocols
  • Collaborating closely with our agency partners such as King County Metro, the Port of Seattle, Northwest Seaport Alliance, WSDOT, and our partners at the City to develop further mitigation measures for any potential issues as they arise

During the concrete/mixer driver strike, work with the contractor was re-sequenced:

  • Changing where epoxy injections and carbon fiber wrapping took place on the bridge
  • Building as many forms (supports used to pour concrete into) as possible before concrete delivery so they were immediately ready for concrete and we could minimize the number of structural pours needed
  • Directing crews to begin major maintenance work, including expansion joint and sign replacement needed to prepare the bridge for reopening

Upcoming road work

Here are announcements from SDOT about upcoming road work during the next week:

On Saturday and Sunday, we’ll finish building curb ramps at the Dumar Way SW and SW Orchard St intersection. This work will include pouring concrete and paving the road in front of the curb ramp. We expect to begin as early as 8 AM and conclude by 5 PM. We do not anticipate any major traffic impacts, however people driving can expect delays in the area.

On Sunday, we’re pouring concrete to repair the lane divider on SW Spokane St in the vicinity of 11th Ave SW near Harbor Island. We anticipate this work to begin as early as 8 AM and conclude by 4 PM. Traffic impacts include a closure of the East Marginal Way S and the lower SW Spokane St ramps. There will be a detour in place for those traveling in the area. Please anticipate travel delays. Please know this work is weather-dependent. If there’s a change in schedule, we’ll include an update in next week’s email.

Plan ahead for impacts on SW Roxbury St between 14th Ave SW and 15th Ave SW as Puget Sound Energy (PSE) completes maintenance work. Work will take place on Monday June 27, Tuesday June 28, and Thursday June 30.

  • Westbound travel on SW Roxbury St: The right lane and sidewalk will be closed from 7AM to 2PM. Additionally, the bus stop will be temporarily relocated 250 feet to the east.
  • Eastbound travel on SW Roxbury St: The right lane will be closed from 9 AM to 3 PM. The sidewalk will be open.

Seattle Police Department 911 Call Handling Update

Last week the Public Safety and Human Services Committee heard an update about the SPD budget and finances, use of overtime and 911 response times.

SPD’s updated call handling practices is an issue that was touched on in the committee presentation last week. There’s been some confusion about the new system, so I want to help clear that up.

Under the old system, much of the time, the lowest priority calls were not being responded to. The new system addresses that, ensuring low-priority calls are seen by a Seattle Police Department supervisor who can best determine whether and how to respond to them.

Additionally, the new system builds in better oversight to ensure officers are responding to calls that are assigned to them.  A recent Office of Police Accountability investigation showed that allowing officers to make those decisions without clear guidance and oversight can lead to negative results. That’s why OPA recommended that SPD provide more guidance and oversight in that area in April.

That said, I still have questions about this program – including about how this new process is being communicated to 911 callers and whether there are policies in place to guide SPD supervisors in making decisions about how to classify low-priority calls properly and effectively.

Here is some background that provides important context to this issue.

What are Priority 3 and 4 calls?

SPD’s 2020 presentation describes the call types

Priority 3: Prompt – Response time is not critical, but usually involves a victim waiting to speak with officers

Investigative Reports: Thefts, property damage
• No suspect in area – immediate apprehension is not likely
• Property alarms (building or car alarms)
• Non-blocking accidents
• Standbys to assure the Peace
• Parking complaints

Priority 4. As Available – Service requests that may not involve a written report

  • Noise complaints
    • Nuisance Calls
    • Request to Watch
    • Found Property

What was the old approach being replaced with the Z-classification system?

The old approach was called “Priority Call Handling.” Priority 3 and 4 calls were screened out by the Community Safety and Communications Center (CSCC), which receives 911 calls.  Priority Call Handling was used for 225 days in 2020, and 223 during 2021, meaning Priority 3 and 4 calls were not getting a response on those days in at least part of the City.

Under the new protocol, there is no Priority Call Handling, so CSCC no longer screens out these calls. In practice, this means more calls will reach SPD supervisors for their review and more calls will be available to be assigned officers for a response.

Fireworks

Fireworks are banned in Seattle and now King County. Every year the Fire Department responds to many preventable fires and injuries caused by fireworks. Please do your part in keeping our community safe.

The Fire Department has been willing to visit known locations of fireworks to discourage unsafe behavior.  In past years, I’ve shared specific locations with Fire Department Chief Scoggins.  This has allowed the Fire Department to visit these locations as time allows on July 4 and the days leading up to July 4.  If you have a specific D1 location that you’d like me to pass on to Seattle Fire Department, please let me know.

Council Begins Considering Park District Funding

On Friday afternoon, I joined my Council colleagues to launch our consideration of the next six years of funding from the Park District – known as “Cycle 2.”  As background, in 2014, voters in the City of Seattle approved Proposition 1, which created the Seattle Park District. Property taxes collected by the Seattle Park District provide funding for City parks and recreation including maintaining parklands and facilities, operating community centers and recreation programs, and developing new neighborhood parks on previously acquired sites.  You can read more about the Seattle Park District here

The volunteer Board of Parks Recreation Commissioners presented their Cycle 2 recommendations on Friday.  These include:

  • Continuing funding from Cycle 1 investments
  • Funding projects that were planned for – but not completed in – Cycle 1 (including development of 3 landbanked sites in District 1)
  • $30 million in new investments

Today’s presentation does not include many details on the $30M in new investments, and this is an area I’ll be keenly watching over the summer, as Council works its way through the recommendations.  If you’re interested in all the details of the Commissioners’ recommendations, you can read them here: Park District Cycle 2 Planning | seattle.gov.

Council will continue its deliberations through the summer and expects to receive a proposed Park District budget from Mayor Harrell in early September, which will require action by the end of the month.

If you’d like to stay informed of Park District deliberations, you can sign up to receive email notifications of upcoming Park District Board meetings at Agenda Sign Up – Council | seattle.gov.

Free Activities in South Park Summer of Safety

Seattle Parks and Recreation will offer Summer of Safety (SOS) at South Park Community Center, a free program that provides structured activities and a safe space for young people not connected to other supervised programs over the summer. Regular SOS activities will include field trips, arts and crafts, as well as sports and athletics.

Summer of Safety will operate at South Park Community Center between July 5th and August 22nd for kids aged 11-14.  No signup is required; just drop in any time Monday through Friday, 10am – 3pm.  If you have questions or need assistance, please email Paula Pablo at [email protected]

Next week, staff will be outside South Park Community Center between 12 – 1:00pm to assist families and provide free lunches!

Article Source: News from City of Seattle