SEATTLE (December 22, 2021) – Entering the final week of her term managing winter weather and a rise in Omicron cases, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan released a report which highlighted significant challenges and achievements of the past four years, including responding to more than 20 extreme weather events, a global pandemic, the closure of the West Seattle Bridge, and the ongoing challenges of housing, homelessness, and affordability.
From helping Seattle become the first city in the U.S. to reach 70% vaccination to having the lowest cumulative COVID-19 cases of any major city, Seattle has had the best in the nation response to the pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Seattle has administered 320,000 vaccines and 1.3 million tests. Approximately 60% of residents have used City administered testing sites. The City now has a 90% vaccination rate and nearly 50% of eligible residents have received a booster.
“The pandemic has been a challenge of a lifetime, and the new variant shows that Seattle continues to lead the nation in our response to COVID-19. We have the lowest cases, hospitalizations, and mortality rate of every major city in America. By quickly mobilizing to city run testing and vaccinations sites in every neighborhood, the work we did together saved thousands of lives. Every step of the way, our city employees stepped up by leading new efforts never seen before in city government.”
Under Mayor Durkan, Seattle created and preserved 7,600 affordable homes through new approaches like modular housing and rapid acquisition. To address homelessness, Mayor Durkan and King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed a new approach to systemically change the region’s response to homelessness. The City of Seattle now operates nearly 3,000 shelter spaces, primarily 24/7 spaces and this year and moved more than 1,000 individuals out of parks into safer spaces. To address the systemic inequities in Seattle, we invested more than $150 million in communities of color through new investments in anti-displacement efforts, and alternatives to police.
“I’m proud of all the positive change we have created in Seattle, and I know it will ripple out for generations. It’s been a challenging time for our city, but we will build back better and more equitable because of the work we did together.”
Through the Seattle Promise, she opened the doors to higher education for 2,300 public school students. In 2019, Mayor Durkan proposed a groundbreaking law that required Uber and Lyft drivers earn at least a minimum wage and today those drivers are earning 40% more on average for each ride. Mayor Durkan championed new rights for domestic workers and hazard pay for grocery workers.
Through the Libraries for All Levy, Mayor Durkan was able to eliminate $2.6 million in outstanding overdue fines, which opened back up the doors to the Seattle Public Library to more than 51,000 people. More than 21,500 now have access to free transit through ORCA Opportunity and more than 40 miles of new bicycle facilities have been built.
Article Source: News from City of Seattle