For second year in row, King County won’t attempt to count homeless population

(Image: City of Seattle)

King County is again putting of its annual attempt to count the number of people living outside, in vehicles, or under-sheltered here.

The King County Regional Homelessness Authority says it plans, instead, to “conduct qualitative engagement with people living unsheltered to learn more about their experiences and how we can better meet their needs.” CHS reported here in 2019 on the formation of the new authority with hopes for more regional approaches to addressing the ongoing homelessness crisis. Continue reading

From cops to the mayor’s office, City of Seattle joins state in requiring COVID-19 vaccination for employees — UPDATE

(Image: City of Seattle)

Employees of the City of Seattle must join state employees, and employees at private health care and long-term care facilities and get vaccinated against COVID-19. Mayor Jenny Durkan joined Gov. Jay Inslee, and County Executive Dow Constantine to announce the new vaccination requirements Monday.

City and state government employees and the workers under the new requirements have until October 18th to be fully vaccinated.

The mandates join renewed masking requirements as areas across the state including populous King County return to levels of “substantial transmission” of the virus and more virulent variants.

In Seattle, the directive applies to city workers “in executive departments, regardless of whether or not they are reporting to the office, unless they have a sincerely held religious or medical exemption.” Continue reading

Nguyen to challenge Constantine for King County Executive

Nguyen

The strongest challenger yet to incumbent Dow Constantine’s quest for a fourth term has announced his run for King County Executive.

State Senator Joe Nguyen, a West Seattle resident who currently represents the 34th District covering his home neighborhood, White Center, Burien, and Vashon Island, Tuesday morning said he is promising “a New Deal for King County.”

“It’s time for a King County government that acts as if — and not just says — ‘You belong here.’ It’s time for a King County government that reflects the care and compassion our communities demonstrate every day,” Nguyen said in a statement on the announcement. “It’s time for a King County government that listens to the voices of those furthest from power and centers the lived experiences of those navigating a society that wasn’t built for them.” Continue reading

The King County election nobody has heard about — still

Let’s conserve some stuff (Image: King County)

In 2019, CHS called it the King County election nobody has heard about. In 2021, we’re pretty sure you still haven’t.

There’s an open seat again on the King County Conservation District board and the vote, unlike any other civic election you can currently participate in, happens online. You can learn more — and cast your ballot — here.

The district works “directly with private landowners to care for the land and resources” that helps “farmers and other landowners voluntarily preserve and enhance our natural resources through cost-sharing, education and technical assistance.”

Eight people are vying for the six-member board’s Position 3.

  • Kali Clark
  • Melissa Tatro
  • Wayne Gullstad
  • Brittney Bush Bollay
  • Doug Hennick
  • David Toledo
  • John Comerford
  • Natalie Reber

Happy voting.

 

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King County Regional Homelessness Authority has finally chosen a leader

The body charged with the hopes of creating a truly regional response to the Seattle-area homelessness crisis finally has a leader.

Thursday, the King County Regional Homelessness Authority announced Regina Cannon as its first Chief Executive Officer.

Regina Cannon has more than 18 years of experience leading anti-poverty initiatives addressing homelessness, supportive housing, criminal justice reform, community capacity building, and youth leadership development. She currently serves as the Chief Equity and Impact Officer at the Center for Social Innovation, also known as C4 Innovation where she leads C4 Innovations’ internal and external equity and impact initiatives and directs the SPARC: Supporting Partnerships for Anti-Racist Communities initiative.
Continue reading

‘4/5ths’ — County proposal would make big loan to help patch part of $300M financing hole in Seattle’s massive, nearly complete convention center expansion

Crews pouring the roof deck at the Summit Addition last week at the Washington State Convention Center (Image: Lease Crutcher Lewis)

The developer of the massive convention center expansion under construction downtown says the project is seeking help from the the city, the state, and the county in patching a $300 million hole in its finances from the COVID-19 crisis. Thursday, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced he will step forward first with a proposed $100 million loan for the project from cash part of the county’s $3.4 billion investment pool.

But the city, and the state will have to follow suit, apparently.

“No, this is not enough,” Matt Griffin of developer Pine Street Group said in a press conference Thursday to discuss the proposed $100 million loan.

Constantine called the loan proposal on the “4/5ths” completed Washington State Convention Center expansion project “a safe investment.” Continue reading

How King County Sheriff’s Office charter amendment votes on your November ballot can also change policing in Seattle

Girmay Zahilay thinks next month’s election is a once-in-a-decade opportunity for changing the way Seattle communities police themselves, but not in the way you might think.

The debate for months locally has been around the Seattle City Council’s moves to defund the police and shift some functions, such as 911 operations and parking enforcement, out of the department. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan King County Council has no such authority to change the ways law enforcement works at the county level.

The first step in improving how the King County Sheriff’s Office works, county councilmember Zahilay argues, is through a charter amendment on the ballot next month that grants the council the ability to decrease the department of public safety’s duties

“All of these structural barriers create a situation where, yeah, we can do budgetary sticks and carrots, but we can’t really have the true accountability and the true innovation to public safety like other jurisdictions can,” Zahilay told CHS. Continue reading

King County raises sales tax in plan to create more homeless housing

The King County Council voted Tuesday to add a 0.1% sales tax expected to raise around $70 million a year to fund housing for people experiencing long-term homelessness.

When proposed by Executive Dow Constantine in September, the plan was hoped to raise more than five times as much funding in a regional approach to addressing the region’s ongoing homelessness crisis. Instead, cities like Issaquah and Bellevue moving quickly to opt out of the plan and implement their own taxes, Continue reading

King County $41M rental assistance and eviction prevention hoped to help low income tenants — and their landlords — make it through 2020

King County hopes a $41 million program to help renters and both large-scale and small, individual landlords can help stave off eviction for between 7,000 and 10,000 low income households during the COVID-19 crisis.

Executive Dow Constantine announced the rental assistance and eviction prevention proposal for “individual tenants, large and small property managers and landlords, and mobile home parks” Thursday and the county is taking feedback on the plan through the end of the month before rolling it out.

The county proposal includes four categories of funding to address “several approaches to serve as many households as possible, as quickly as possible” — Continue reading

‘We can move our secure perimeter’ — 12th Ave’s new Children and Family Justice Center designed for hopes of a shrinking youth jail population

With colors, murals, game tables, and art that make the new facility feel like a cross between a new high school and juvenile hall, King County is showing off its new Judge Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center on 12th Ave.

It is also designed, officials say, to slowly transform.

“As we move toward zero youth detention, how we can repurpose space?” one official said during a tour of the new facility’s detention area. “As our population decreases,” she said in the middle of one of the center’s living halls designed to look like dorms but secured for incarceration with electronic locks and state of the art surveillance systems, “we can move our secure perimeter.” Continue reading