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The information you share will help us understand where the City’s wastewater and stormwater systems may not be working like they should. A more complete list of problem areas means we can plan better future solutions.
We’re studying flooding in the wastewater and stormwater systems
When flooding happens, it could mean that the system is overwhelmed somewhere else. Problems could include anything from pipes under residential streets being too small, to not having enough storage during heavy rain storms. We need to look at neighborhoods citywide to learn more about where and when flooding occurs and what the causes may be before we turn to solutions.
We want to include your stories and experiences to help us get it right. We’re looking at the big picture and the long-term. Challenges you help us identify today will be used to build our future plans.
How can you help keep the system moving?
We maintain the shared infrastructure to keep toilets flushing, and our neighborhoods free from flooding. “Shared infrastructure” means we all use the same system of pipes, so what you put down your drain could have impacts at your house or further down for your neighbors. Click on the links below to learn more about how you can do your part to help keep the system at its best:
The City of Seattle is looking for candidates to serve on the Seattle Planning Commission beginning in April 2019. Planning Commission members are appointed by the Mayor or the City Council and may serve up to two consecutive, three-year terms. Three positions will be open in April; two of which are City Council appointments, one of which is a Mayoral appointment. All appointments are subject to full City Council approval. The City is committed to promoting diversity in the City’s boards and commissions. Persons of color, women, persons with disabilities, and sexual minorities are strongly encouraged to apply. Commissioners must reside in Seattle and serve without compensation.
The commission members advise the Mayor, City Council, and City departments on citywide planning goals, policies, and plans and provide them with independent and objective advice on land use, zoning, transportation and housing issues.
Although historic preservation is often perceived as merely a matter of protecting buildings, it is also about honoring Seattle’s history, its myriad cultures, and the people whose lives are entwined with historic districts and buildings. It is no secret that Seattle’s rapid growth and redevelopment has put pressure on communities across the city. This three-part series examines how community members are working within the International Special Review District (ISRD), one of the City’s eight historic districts, to preserve the buildings and the stories that infuse them.
At the intersection where Boren Avenue meets Jackson Street and emerges as Rainier Avenue sits a sight familiar to many Seattleites – a bright red, boat-shaped building with the words PHỞ BẮC blazoned across it and the yellow and red flag of South Vietnam at its prow. According to local lore, it was here that Seattle’s love affair with phở began. When its doors first opened in 1982, Phở Bắc was known as Cat’s Submarines – named for Theresa Cat Vu who, along with her husband, Augustine Pham, owned the sandwich shop. It wasn’t long after opening, however, that the family-owned restaurant shifted its focus from sandwiches to bowls of aromatic, savory soup. The iconic red boat and Phở Bắc quickly became a mainstay in Little Saigon and is now operated by Yenvy Pham along with her brother Khoa and sister Quynh. With the recent expansion of the International Special Review District (ISRD) to include all of Little Saigon (previously, the boundary ended at 12th Avenue South), Pham is excited about what the future holds for the neighborhood.
“There are so many opportunities!” said Pham. “This is a hot hub! We have huge stakeholders in the neighborhood who are Vietnamese. They have huge plans to redevelop and do some crazy stuff. I have a lot of hopes for the area!” Owing to shifting land use priorities for the area over the years, Little Saigon is a mixture of commercial, industrial, and warehouse spaces with some housing thrown in for good measure. Pham values this variety: “It’s a wholesale, kind of industrial zone. [There’s a] kind of commingling that is interesting and people have ideas of what they want to see in the neighborhood.” For Pham, this commingling isn’t simply about the differences in zoning. It also offers a possible roadmap for what the future development in the neighborhood might look like. “I’m really excited about the [Little Saigon] park and the pass-through between Jackson and King. Lam’s Seafood just bought an acre of land between King and Weller,” she said. “Once they redevelop, the passthrough could continue on to Weller. Hopefully, my organization, Friends of Little Saigon can start collaborating with Lam’s Seafood or Goodwill to have our cultural spots – our night markets.”
“It’s the next generation wanting to keep the nostalgic upbringing that we had here. Twenty years ago, it was very poppin’, very lively, a totally different feel than it is now. How do we adapt to the times—how do we modernize—but also keep the heritage alive?”
The expansion of the ISRD and rapid development around Seattle has prompted community members of Little Saigon to consider important questions about how to plan for the future while being mindful of the past. “It’s the next generation wanting to keep the nostalgic upbringing that we had here,” observed Pham. “Twenty years ago, it was very poppin’, very lively, a totally different feel than it is now. How do we adapt to the times—how do we modernize—but also keep the heritage alive?”
Concern for the character of the neighborhood and the communities that make use of the services that are provided there is one area where Pham sees the ISRD making a big impact in Little Saigon. “[The ISRD] will help by getting developers and property owners to be more conscientious of what they can – and want – to do for this area and asking how it benefits the cultural heritage of not just the Vietnamese community, but all the ethnic communities that have gone through here,” Pham stated. “We’ll guide [developers] to have a certain vision but have the flexibility to be kind of chaotic about it. There’s no preference for a certain structure, it’s more like having the passion and heart to make this area very characteristic.”
With plans for new housing, commercial spaces, and other development already being discussed, Pham speaks with confidence about the future of Little Saigon. “I think [Little Saigon] will always be what it always is – a really random array of random stuff and it shouldn’t be contained,” she said. “[People] just have to learn how to cope with us.”
Gov. Jay Inslee announced today that Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) is expanding unemployment benefits to federal workers who, since the partial shutdown began, were deemed “essential” and were directed to work full-time without pay. This includes TSA agents, Coast Guard personnel, border patrol agents, food safety inspectors, FBI agents, and many others.
Since the partial shutdown began, only those federal workers who were furloughed and not working were eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits. Inslee said this is an inexcusable situation that state leaders should not accept.
“There are nearly 16,000 Washingtonians who are about to lose a second paycheck because of this record-long federal shutdown,” Inslee said. “Thousands of those Washington-based federal workers are being told they must work anyway, and therefore have no option but to hope this shutdown ends. It is wholly unacceptable, and Washington state will not stand by while our public servants work day after day while struggling to make ends meet. We have got to prioritize people over politics and end this shutdown.
“It is unconscionable that the president is turning these public servants into his political pawns. We will take care of Washingtonians, even if the president won’t.”
If you are an impacted federal worker, you can file your claim now by going to the ESD website.
ESD Commissioner Suzi LeVine said their first preference would be an immediate end to the prolonged and painful shutdown, followed by federal protection for the workers.
“Absent movement on any of these options, we’re taking action to protect those workers who are forced to work with no paycheck, no safety net and no ability to find alternative work during this time,” LeVine said. “It’s the compassionate and responsible thing to do.”
Numerous businesses are also stepping in to provide financial relief to federal workers impacted by the shutdown. Inslee and LeVine hosted a roundtable Thursday with several business leaders who detailed their efforts to help struggling workers who have gone weeks without pay. The business leaders came from varied industries such as banking, telecom, utilities and health care.
“It’s impressive to see so many businesses and organizations stepping up to help in so many ways, big and small,” Inslee said. “Companies are deferring payments or waiving fees, providing no-interest loans and finding other creative ways to help workers stay afloat during this difficult time.”
Francine Artis said Tacoma Public Utilities is here to help.
“Tacoma Public Utilities remains committed to providing customers in need with multiple assistance options to help them pay their utility bills and make their homes more efficient,” said Artis, TPU’s Customer Solutions Manager. “The partial federal government shutdown is affecting many in our community, and TPU wants to assist affected customers during this difficult time. Customers seeking assistance with their bill can call 253–502–8600.”
Rod Hochman of Providence St. Joseph Health said the organization provides assistance and charity care in times of financial hardship. But that for affected federal workers, they are also offering a grace period to pay out-of-pocket medical costs and are suspending collection activities on outstanding balances.
“The situation is a painful reminder of how quickly a sudden loss of income can render someone vulnerable,” said Hochman, president and CEO of Providence St. Joseph Health. “We are also encouraging as many PSJH caregivers as possible to volunteer for service activities to help meet immediate needs for affected families, such as food banks and diaper drives. Together, we hope to offer some measure of relief in this time of need.”
Randy King, a former federal employee who worked for 15 years as deputy superintendent and superintendent of Mt. Rainier National Park, also participated in the roundtable. He said there’s no doubt access to unemployment benefits and support from businesses will help prevent many workers from experiencing incredibly difficult financial hardship.
Kent, a 29-year veteran of government service, said, “ A number of coworkers in my office have not reported to work, claiming financial hardship, and this would go a long way to easing their burden.”
Inslee’s office hosts a resource page for impacted federal workers. The page includes information about unemployment benefits, as well as the support options offered by the companies he and LeVine met with today.
The governor also released an updated document detailing some of the shutdown’s most significant impacts to Washington state programs and services. You can find the list here.
Environment Washington announced a major initiative today to convince state leaders to commit to 100 percent clean, renewable electricity. Environment Washington’s efforts are part of Environment America’s broader 100% Renewable campaign to boost clean energy bills in at least nine states: Washington, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, and New Mexico.
“Washington State has both the capacity and will to be a nationwide leader on 100 percent clean, renewable energy,” said Bruce Speight, Environment Washington Executive Director. “With other states and scores of cities and corporations committing to cleaner, healthier futures for our kids and our planet, Washington State has an obligation to take a strong, clear position.”
This campaign comes following the key role Environment California, a sister organization to Environment Washington, played in convincing the Golden State to commit to 100 percent clean electricity generation by 2045. Now, other states are poised to emulate the renewable energy pioneers: California and Hawaii.
Environment Washington is pushing a bill that would eliminate coal on the grid by 2025, require all utilities to have a resource mix that is 80 percent clean by 2030, and ensure all electricity in Washington state is carbon-free. Gov. Jay Inslee requested the bill, and its prime sponsors are state Sen. Reuven Carlyle in the Senate and state Rep. Gael Tarleton in the House.
“Considering the level of climate chaos already unleashed at 1°C warming, from ravaging wildfires to devastating storms, we must move as rapidly as possible to reduce emissions,” said Speight. “What we do in the next few years, not in 20 years, is what matters. That’s why strong short-term targets are critical to making this bill meaningful. At the very least, we need to ensure that the provisions to eliminate coal on the grid by 2025 and to require utilities to be 80% percent clean by 2030 remain in the bill, and if anything, that they are strengthened not weakened.”
The renewable revolution isn’t only happening at the state level. Growing awareness of the environmental impacts of our energy use, coupled with rapid advances in technology and declining costs, has made renewable energy the “go-to” option for many communities and businesses. One hundred U.S. cities, led by a mix of Republican and Democratic mayors, have pledged to transition their power sources to 100 percent renewable energy. In addition, 131 major companies, including Bank of America, Walmart and Anheuser-Busch, have pledged to power their entire operations with renewable energy.
“Renewable energy technologies are gaining momentum because they’re pollution-free — which means they’re healthier for both us and the earth,” said Rob Sargent, Environment America’s Clean Energy Program Director. “It should be a no-brainer for other states to follow Hawaii and California’s lead. But we have to convince states to act as soon as possible.”
4Culture, King County’s cultural funding agency, is excited to announce their annual
grant program that supports projects for individuals and groups working in the arts,
heritage and preservation.
Here are some examples, saxophonist Gary Hammon explored the Central District’s music
history through storytelling and filmmaker Patricia Boiko recorded the stories of Women of
Color associated with the Seattle Black Panther movement.
Last year, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation hired a consultant to document Latino heritage sites for the website Revisiting Washington.
There will be workshops in January and February to ensure there is support every step
of the way. 4Culture is very interested in encouraging new applicants and working with as many
people as possible producing arts and culture in King County.
The deadline to apply is March 6 th . More information at 4Culture.org.
This morning, between 2 and 6 a.m., nearly 1,000 volunteers spanned across King County for Count Us In 2019, the annual Point in Time Count of individuals experiencing homelessness, coordinated annually by All Home. The unsheltered street count was conducted as a full canvass of all 398 census tracts in King County. Count teams included community volunteers as well as guides with current or prior experience of homelessness, who were compensated for their time, to offer their expertise and knowledge for a more informed and respectful count.
“Joining a thousand volunteers for this year’s Count Us In is inspiring,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “The annual snapshot-in-time count provides us with useful data that will guide the work we and our partners do as a region to confront the homelessness crisis. And, it demonstrates that the people of King County are united to ensure that all of our neighbors have a safe, warm, and dignified place to call home.”
The full range of count activities includes the street count of people living unsheltered, a count of people living in shelter and transitional housing, and a qualitative sample-based survey of people experiencing homelessness. Local advocates, individuals with lived experience of homelessness, service providers and Applied Survey Research (ASR), a Bay-area research firm contracted to help conduct the Count, have all been active and valued partners in the planning and implementation of Count Us In 2019.
While the Count’s core purpose is to collect data on the needs of people experiencing homelessness, it also provides an excellent opportunity to increase awareness and spark action. A successful and accurate Count is an essential component to informing local strategies to address homelessness and to making homelessness rare, brief and one-time.
“Far too many of our neighbors are sleeping outdoors,” said City of Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. “Last year we moved more households out of homelessness and into permanent housing than in any year before. But, we know that it’s not enough and more people are falling into homelessness than before. As we embark on a new path to build a more efficient and responsive regional entity, we will continue to partner with philanthropists, businesses, service providers, and people with lived experience to bring about real solutions for our homeless neighbors.”
Data collected year-round in the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) shows that the need for housing assistance in King County has grown consistently over the past five years, with more than 30,000 individuals entering the homeless system over the course of a year. This reflects years of diminishing affordable housing capacity in the region, similar to many other rapidly-growing areas across the country and emphasizes the need for comprehensive prevention strategies that prevent the experience of homelessness in the first place.
Point In Time counts are a requirement for communities that receive federal grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Data collected from Point In Time counts across the nation are published on the HUD Exchange website and presented annually to Congress as part of the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR). A comprehensive report of Count Us In findings, including data on youth, vehicle residents, chronic homelessness and other specialized populations will be available in May of 2019.
“We don’t need to know the exact outcome of the count to be reminded today that the experience of homelessness is far too common in a community with such prosperity and opportunity. This reality is an important call to action for the days and months ahead, knowing that we not only need to respond to those in crisis tonight, but must also come together as a community year-round to prevent the experience of homelessness whenever possible.” said Kira Zylstra, Acting Director of All Home.
Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency today in all counties in response to more than two dozen confirmed cases of measles in our state.
“Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease that can be fatal in small children,” Inslee stated in his proclamation. “The existence of 26 confirmed cases in the state of Washington creates an extreme public health risk that may quickly spread to other counties.”
The proclamation directs state agencies and departments to utilize state resources and do everything reasonably possible to assist affected areas. A proclamation is also necessary to utilize the Emergency Management Assistance Compact to request additional medical resources from other states.
The Washington State Department of Health has instituted an infectious disease Incident Management Structure to manage the public health aspects of the incident to include investigations, laboratory testing and other efforts to protect communities. Meanwhile, the Washington Military Department is coordinating resources to support DOH and local officials in alleviating the impacts to people, property and infrastructure.
A current statewide case count for the measles outbreak is available on DOH’s website and will be updated daily. As of yesterday, there are 25 confirmed cases in Clark County and one confirmed case in King County. You can find additional details on exposure sites on the Public Health — Seattle & King County and Clark County Public Health websites.
Measles is easily spread when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes. Almost everyone who is not immune will get measles if they are exposed to the measles virus. Because measles is contagious before people realize they are sick, people who are not vaccinated may spread the disease without knowing. DOH urges everyone to check their immunization records to verify they are fully immunized.